Friday, 12 August 2011

30 years of the IBM PC

Today, 12 August 2011, marks 30 years since the introduction of the original IBM PC.

Personally, I've a lot to thank the PC for as it has kept me more or less gainfully employed for the last 30 years, through the rise of the clones - when just about anyone with a wrist strap and a torx driver seemed to be making clone pc's in their shed, the wordprocessor format wars - wordstar/word/wordperfect - I still have a wordperfect mug - operating systems - dos, windows, windows 95, NT, OS/2, Windows 2000, XP and windows 7 and of course not forgetting peripherals along the way - principally printers.

And while I like to accentuate the sexy, doesn't everyone, it's been the humble desktop computer and laptop that's been my mainstay. And even when I've strayed to other architectures and operating systems, I've got to admit that the original concept behind the IBM PC design has stayed good - allowing you to easily make and upgrade systems out of standard components as seen in my $83 linux PC - which was actually only $20 for the box, memory and disks, with bits stolen begged or borrowed from other dead machine - the principal cost being a second hand Sun LCD screen.

And that's it exactly - the design took the world by storm because it was so open so that in the end it had so much momentum behind its general purpose open extensible architecture many of the non Wintel suppliers ended up using the design and the components to get costs down. And whatever anyone tells you about PC's being dead, ignore them. Have you ever seen an ATM boot up? or an airport self check in terminal, not to mention all these train station screens telling you windows has failed to restart correctly ...

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