What is the greatest operating system ever made

Computer history: 1900 to today

1910 teleprinter

1926 Magnetic tape - inventor: Fritz Pfleumer

The first magnetic tape used to record sound was a strip of paper coated with iron oxide. The invention was based on Valdemar Poulsen's wire drawing process.

1928 The IBM punch card

The IBM card - a sturdy, rectangular 80-column punch card with rectangular holes that represent bits of data - remained the industry standard for storing and recording data for decades. She helped IBM to a leading position in data processing and became a symbol of the computer science age.

1932 drum storage - inventor: Gustav Tauschek

This technology was particularly widespread in the 1950s to 1960s. The device consists of a large metal cylinder, the outside of which is coated with a ferromagnetic recording material. In principle, it is a drum-shaped "platter" (= name for the magnetic disks on which the data is stored in hard drives). The read / write heads are attached along the axis of the drum; each track has its own head. An important difference to the platter is that the read / write heads do not have to move to find the track they need. As a result, certain data can be accessed more quickly than with hard drives, since the controller only needs to wait until the data appears under the read / write head as the drum rotates. The performance of the drum depends almost exclusively on the speed of rotation, in contrast to hard drives where the speed of movement of the read / write heads also plays a role.

To improve performance, programmers wrote instructions on the drum so that the time it took for the computer to execute the commands matched the speed of rotation. This ensured that the drum had turned to the right place when the computer needed the following data. This method is called the "skip factor" and is still used today.

1936 water integrator

This analog computer was built in the Soviet Union. It was a complex network of pipes and water containers. The water level in the containers corresponded to different numerical values. A working model of this computer can be seen in the London Science Museum.

1936 printed circuit board

Paul Eisler made the first circuit board as part of a radio. The technology was used by the US military in 1943 and was not released for trade until 1948. Originally, holes were drilled in the panels and the individual components were connected by cables. Today the plates are coated with copper and the superfluous copper is removed in such a way that conductor tracks are created. This is done, for example, by a method in which, with the help of a photo mask, the pattern of the conductor tracks is applied from a substance that is resistant to certain caustic chemicals. If the circuit board is then placed in the chemical bath, the superfluous copper disappears and the conductor tracks remain.

1936 Turing machine - inventor: Alan Turing

1936 Z1 - inventor: Konrad Zuse

The Z1 was a mechanical computer that was basically a 22-bit floating point number adder / subtracter. It could be programmed (restricted) and received its instructions via punched tape. The machine was unable to store the programs in its memory. The commands were read from the punched tape and carried out directly.

  • Memory: 176 bytes (64 words of 22 bits)
  • Clock: 1 Hz
  • Register: 2 floating point registers of 22 bits each

1937 Atanasoff-Berry Computer

Replica of the Atanasoff-Berry computer

This machine was able to calculate 29 linear equations simultaneously. The innovations of the device included:

  • Electronic calculation
  • Binary arithmetic
  • Parallel processing
  • Regenerative storage
  • Separation of storage and calculation functions


The device weighed 320 kg and contained approx. 1.6 km of cable, 280 dual triode vacuum tubes, 31 thyratrons and was about the size of a table. The memory consisted of two drums, rotating once per second, each containing 1,600 capacitors. The capacitors were divided into 32 ribbons of 50 pieces each (30 active ribbons and 2 fail-safe ribbons). As a result, the machine was capable of 30 calculation steps per second. Data was stored as 50-bit binary fixed point numbers. The storage and calculation units could store and process up to 60 such numbers at the same time. This corresponds to 3000 bits. The 60 Hz power supply frequency was the primary clock rate for the simplest of calculations. The device did not work fully automatically; various functions had to be controlled by an operator.

There were two forms of input and output: primary and via caching. For the primary input and output, the input was made via punch cards and the output via a display. For more complicated tasks than the simultaneous calculation of two equations, the input / output via buffer was necessary. The results were recorded on paper by changing the electrical resistance at 1500 points. This enabled 30 of the 50 bit numbers to be stored on one sheet. Each sheet could be written on or read in a second. The problem was that the exact properties of the paper could not be controlled. Therefore the system had an error rate of one error per 100,000 calculations. The problem could have been solved by adding parity bits. But this solution was never implemented.

1939 Z2 - inventor: Konrad Zuse

Since the Z1 was not reliable enough due to its complex design, Zuse designed the Z2. The device used the same mechanical memory as the Z1, but the control logic was solved via relays. In contrast to the Z1, the Z2 used 16 bit fixed point numbers.

  • Memory: 32 bytes (16 words, 16 bits)
  • Clock rate: 3 Hz

1941 Z3 - inventor: Konrad Zuse

The Z3 was the first functional, programmable and fully automatic computer. The device consisted of 2000 relays, used binary floating point numbers and had a clock rate of 5 to 10 Hz. A replica can be seen in the Deutsches Museum in Munich, which was built in 1960 by Zuse KG, as the original was destroyed in the Second World War.

  • Memory: word length 22 bits
  • Clock rate: 5-10 Hz

1943 ENIAC

ENIAC, the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, which cost $ 500,000 to develop, was a very large machine. It consisted of 17,468 vacuum tubes, 7,200 diodes, 1,500 relays, 70,000 resistors, 10,000 capacitors and 5 million hand-soldered connections. Its space requirement was 167 m² with a weight of 27 tons. The power consumption was 150 kW. The first tasks ENIAC was given had to do with the invention of the hydrogen bomb.

Contrary to what an urban myth claims, the device did not keep failing tubes and it did not take several hours to find the failed tubes. In truth, there was an outage about every 2 days and it took about 15 minutes to correct the problem. Parts of the ENIAC can be seen at the University of Pennsylvania, USA.

1943 Colossus

The Colossus was used during World War II to decrypt German messages that had been encrypted with the Lorenz SZ40 / 42 machine.

With the help of "photomultipliers" he read printed strips of paper. Other main components of the device were vacuum tubes and thyratrons. Colossus was able to process 5,000 characters per second. The paper strip was read in at a speed of 12 meters per second. The device was the first computer to use shift registers and systolic arrays. The Colossus compared the data from the paper strip with a second, internally generated data stream, which was a simulation of the Lorenz machine, with various coding settings being simulated. If the number of hits for a certain setting exceeded a specified value, this was printed out.

1943 - 1945 Plankalkül - inventor: Konrad Zuse

Plankalkül was the first high-level programming language. For various reasons, however, the work was initially not published. The first compiler was only created in 2000 by the Free University of Berlin.

1944 IBM Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator

Right side of the Harvard Mark I.

The Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (ASCC for short) or "Harvard Mark I" was the first large functioning, automatic, digital calculator in the USA. It consisted of 765,000 individual parts, including switches, electromechanical relays, clutches and rotating rollers, is more than 15 meters long and almost 2.50 meters high, weighs around 4,500 kg and was driven by a 4 kW electric motor. The device was programmed using punched tape and could perform 3 additions or subtractions per second. Other calculations took anywhere from 15.3 seconds to a minute.

1945 delay line memory

ca.1946 Williams-Kilburn tube - inventors: Frederic C. Williams, Tom Kilburn

It was a type of cathode ray tube that was used to store binary data. The working principle of the Williams-Kilburn tube is based on a side effect of cathode ray tubes. When an image point is created in a cathode tube, the corresponding point receives a small positive charge from secondary emissions. The immediate vicinity of the point, on the other hand, is negatively charged. Data was stored in the tube by building a pattern of positively and negatively charged points in the tube. The "image points" were not visible, however, because the tubes did not contain any phosphorus. The stored data was destroyed by the reading process. If the data were to be stored longer, they had to be rewritten immediately after each read process. The time a tube could store data without having to rewrite it was dependent on the electrical resistance of the inside of the tube. At first a tube could only store a single bit, later the inventors succeeded in increasing the storage capacity to 2048 bits.

1948 Curta (mechanical pocket calculator) - inventor: Curt Herzstark

Partly disassembled Curta

The Curta was a mechanical calculator that was powered by a hand crank. The device was so small it could fit in the palm of your hand. Numbers were entered using sliders. On the top there were two displays: rotation display (counted the revolutions of the crank) and the result display. One turn of the crank added the entered number to the result display. In order to perform a subtraction, the crank had to be pulled out a little. For other arithmetic operations, more complicated operating steps with the help of the crank were necessary.

1948 Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine - Frederic C. Williams, Tom Kilburn

The SSEM was the first computer to run a stored program. Williams-Kilburn tubes were used for storage. In contrast to the delay line memory, random access was possible. The device contained 4 Williams-Kilburn tubes. The first tube was the actual storage medium, the second tube served as an accumulator and the third as a kind of working memory (the current instruction and its address were stored there). The last tube served as a display device. The content of each selected tube could thus be displayed. The SSEM had a storage capacity of up to 32 instructions or numbers. Each bit was entered individually via a keyboard with 32 switches. The instruction set was very limited; only a few simple memory operations could be performed.

1948 IBM 604

IBM develops the electronic punch machine IBM 604, the first commercially successful electronic calculator. It is sold more than 5,000 times and introduces many companies to the world of electronic computation. The IBM Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator is the first computer to combine electronic calculations with stored instructions and is one of the first electromechanical computers ever built.

1948 barcode

1949 von Neumann Architecture - Inventor: John von Neumann

Schematic representation of the Von Neumann architecture

Most computers today are based on this architecture. A possible disadvantage is the separation of CPU and memory. The speed with which data can be transported from the memory to the CPU is slower than the processing speed of the CPU. This means that the CPU has to wait for data again and again. This "Von-Neumann bottleneck" is becoming more and more important due to the ever increasing capacity of the CPU and memory.

1949 BINAC

The BINAC or Binary Automatic Computer had two independent CPUs with their own memory (delay lines) of 512 words each with 16 channels with 32 words each with 31 bits. The clock rate was 4.25 MHz. About 700 vacuum tubes were used.

1949 EDSAC

The memory (delay lines) was 18432 bits, of which only 17408 bits could be used due to technical problems (timing). The input took place via punched tape, the output with the help of a teleprinter.

A library of subroutines was available. This contained, among other things, floating point number calculations, differential equations, exponentiation, logarithms, vectors, matrices and trigonometric functions.

1949 EDVAC

The EDVAC was the binary successor to the decimal ENIAC. It weighed 7,850 kg and took up 45 square meters. The device consisted of 6,000 vacuum tubes and 12,000 diodes. Additions took 864 microseconds and multiplications took 2.9 milliseconds. Its memory was about 5.5 KB.

1949 Manchester Mark I

This computer was based on the Small-Scale Experimental Machine (1948). The first "high-level programming language" called "Autocode" was developed on the Mark I.

Improvements over the SSEM:

  • Drum storage instead of punched tape
  • Hardware multiplier
  • Index register
  • Word size increased from 32 bits to 40 bits
  • additional register for multiplications

In contrast to the SSEM, the Mark I only had 2 Williams tubes with a total storage capacity of 128 words, each with 64 rows of 40 points. 64 words were a "page". The drum store could store two such pages. Its speed of rotation was adapted to the vertical frequency of the Williams tubes, which meant that the drum memory could be written to or read from between the tubes' refresh cycles.

1949 Core memory inventor: An Wang

1950 Z4 - inventor: Konrad Zuse

The Z4 in the Deutsches Museum (Munich)

The Z4 was the first commercial computer. The machine consisted of 2,200 relays and was initially able to store 64 numbers. Later it received a ferrite core memory and was controlled with the help of punched tape. The only one that still exists today is in the Deutsches Museum in Munich.

1951 UNISERVO tape drives and media

Universo was the first commercial tape drive and designed for use with the UNIVAC. The data was stored on nickel-phosphorus bronze tapes rolled on 0.5 inch wide spools. The storage took place in 8 channels. 6 channels were used for data storage, 1 channel stored parity bits and the last channel was responsible for timing. The data density was 128 bits per inch. The data was stored in fixed blocks of 60 words with 12 characters each. The data transfer rate was 7,200 characters per second. It could be written and read forwards and backwards. The device had a data buffer the size of a block in which the data that were transported to / from the UNIVAC processor and temporarily stored. A single magnetic tape storage unit (e.g. IBM 726) held as much data as 35,000 punch cards.

1951 UNIVAC I First commercial computer in the USA

The UNIVAC I consisted of 5,200 vacuum tubes, weighed 13 tons and could process 1,905 instructions per second at a clock speed of 2.25 MHz.

  • Storage type: delay lines
  • Main memory: 1000 words of 12 characters, 100 channels of 10 words each
  • Input / output buffer: 60 words each, 12 channels of 10 words each
  • Input / output: operator console, up to 10 UNISERVO tape drives, oscilloscope, modified electric IBM typewriter

1951 LEO I

The LEO I was the first commercial computer for use in companies and was largely based on the EDSAC. Its memory was four times that of the EDSAC.

1947/1951 Whirlwind

1952 Integrated circuit

1952+ IBM 700/7000 series

The IBM 700/7000 series was a line of large mainframe computers. While the 700 series still used vacuum tubes, these were replaced by transistors in the 7000 series. Except for the 701 and 702 models, which used CRT tube memories, all devices used core memory elements.

There were six different architectures with different performance data in the 700/7000 series. In addition to the first architecture, which was 36 resp.18 bit words worked, the scientific architecture (36 bit words), the commercial architecture, the later architecture of the 1400 series, the decimal architecture with 10 digit words and the supercomputer architecture with 64 bit words.

This series paved the way for the computers designed for special commercial and industrial purposes.

1953 IBM 650 First mass-produced computer

1953 Fortran - First implemented high programming language - inventor: John W. Backus

1955 Microprogramming - inventor: Maurice Wilkes

1955 Z22 - inventor: Konrad Zuse

Zuse Z22 in the Technik-Museum Berlin

The Z22 was the seventh computer model that Zuse developed. A core memory with a storage capacity of 12 words of 38 bits was used as the working memory. A 38 KB drum memory served as external data storage. In addition, data on punch cards could be read or written. The device was cooled with an electric water cooling system.

1956 IBM 305 RAMAC

The first hard drive in the world

IBM founded the data storage industry with the RAMAC (Random Access Method of Accounting and Control) - which contains the world's first magnetic hard disk drive. The drives, which are the size of two fridges placed side by side, had a capacity of 10 megabits and weighed 10 tons. For comparison: an average laptop today would weigh around 250,000 tons if it were equipped with this technology.

The IBM 305 was one of the last IBM vacuum tube computers. Data was stored on hard drives with approx. 5 MB storage space.

1959 Calcomp 560 plotter

1959 IBM 1403 chain printer

1959 IBM 1401

The IBM 1401 data processing system - the world's first affordable, universally applicable business computer - is one of the first computers to be based on transistors instead of electric tubes. It is also the first computer to sell 10,000, making it the most popular computer of the 1960s.

1960 HP 2100

The HP 2100 was a series of minicomputers made by Hewlett-Packard that was later renamed the HP 1000. The architecture included two accumulators (16 bits) labeled "A" and "B" and the 15-bit instruction counter "P". The command set had 68 commands. Each command took 1.6 microseconds to complete. The simple operating system could only handle file names with a maximum length of 5 characters instead of the 6 characters that were common at the time, and knew no directory levels. A later operating system allowed 16.4 file names (16 characters for the name, 4 characters for the file extension)

1961 ANITA Mark VII (first fully electric desktop calculator)

1963 Compact Cassette

1964 BASIC

BASIC is one of the most widely used programming languages ​​and exists in many different "dialects". Despite its age and lack of (although originally intended) platform independence, it is still used today. The currently most modern dialect is "Visual Basic .NET".

1965 PDP-8

A first generation PDP-8

The PDP-8 was the first commercially successful minicomputer. The main memory in the basic configuration was 6 KB and could be expanded to 48 KB. The device used magnetic core memory and 12-bit accumulators. The first PDP-8 model used discrete transistors.[1] Later these were replaced by integrated CMOS microprocessors.

In the first models, input / output was via a front panel, punched tape and Teletype printer with an optional punched tape. Input / output technologies such as magnetic tape, terminals, hard drives and floppy disks were added later.

1966 DRAM

IBM's Bob Dennard invents DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory), the simplicity and low power consumption of which make computers faster, denser and cheaper and which will later lead to the development of PCs, laptops, video games and smartphones. If you were to use the chips of that time today, you would need around 8 million such memory chips to achieve the same amount of data that fits on a single chip of the tiny USB sticks used today.

1967 floppy disc (8-inch)

8-inch floppy disk drive

The 8-inch floppy disc was originally developed for IBM's "System / 370" as a simple method of loading microcode when an attempt to develop a new type of tape system was unsuccessful. The original disk was a "bare" read-only version called "Memory Disk" that had a storage capacity of 80 KB. When problems with pollution arose, a protective plastic wrap was developed that contained a special material to remove dust particles. The first writable version appeared in 1972.

1969 Data General Nova

The "Nova" from Data General was a 16-bit minicomputer, the electronics of which were housed on only two circuit boards. Previous minicomputers, such as the PDP-8, were composed of many individual smaller circuit boards. This made it so small that it could easily be accommodated in a rack (shelf for a stereo system or other electronic devices). The storage cycle of the core memory was 1200 ns. In later models, the storage cycle was first shortened to 800 ns and then to 300 ns. The core memory modules were replaced by semiconductor memories and software libraries stored in ROMs were added.

  • CPU: 16 bit, accumulator based, 4 registers
  • Memory: 4K words - 32K words
  • Programming languages: BASIC, FORTRAN, COBOL, Forth, Lisp, BCPL, C, Algol

1969 Multics (Unix predecessor)

Multics ("Multiplexed Information and Computer Service") was a time-sharing operating system. With the "time-sharing" common at the time, similar to the terminal-based (e.g. via Microsoft Terminal Services) applications common today, several terminals shared the processing capacity of a computer.

Many of the ideas implemented in Multics can be found in Unix and its derivatives:

  • Daemons
  • first operating system with hierarchical file system
  • symbolic links to directories
  • separate stacks for processes

The Multics versions MR10.2 and MR11.0 - MR12.5 have been open source since 2006.

1970 microprocessor

1970 LA30 dot matrix printer

circa 1970 RAM

1970 Use of compact cassettes to store computer data

1970 Datapoint 2200

First computer similar to the modern personal computer manufactured by Terminal Computer Corporation (CTL). The Datapoint 2200 was a terminal computer that could be connected to common mainframe computers. Since this "programmable terminal" could also perform the tasks of an independent computer, it was used in this way by many users.

Technical specifications:

  • integrated keyboard
  • Integrated 12-line, 80-column green monochrome monitor
  • 2 compact cassette drives, 130 KB capacity
  • 2 KB RAM (expandable to 8 KB) (Datapoint 2200 Type I), or 4 KB RAM (expandable to 16 KB) (Datapoint 2200 Type II)


  • Diabolo 2.5 MB 2315 hard disk (later also larger hard disks)
  • Modems
  • various interfaces
  • printer
  • Punch card reader
  • 8 inch floppy
  • 7/9 track magnetic tape drive

Birth of the x86 CPU architecture

The Datapoint 2200 was the reason for the birth of the x86 architecture. In contrast to the conventional TTL modules, the original plans for the 2200 envisaged an 8-bit single-chip CPU. Two companies were commissioned to develop the CPU: Intel and Texas Instruments. TI was unable to deliver a satisfactorily working chip and Intel was unable to meet the deadline. Ultimately, CTL kept its money and Intel kept the processor, which was later completed and appeared in 1972 under the name "Intel 8008".

1970 Pascal

1971 Intel 4004

Architecture diagram of the Intel 4004
Pin assignment of the Intel 4004.


  • 4 bit words
  • 12 bit addresses
  • 8 bit instructions
  • 60,000 instructions per second
  • Speed: 740 kHz
  • Socket: 16 pins
  • Command set: 46 commands
  • Register: 16 to 4 bits

1971 laser printer

1971 Unix

The first version of the Unix operating system was created between 1969 and 1972 in the Bell Labratories, then a division of the AT&T telephone company. Unics, as Unix was spelled back then, is the successor to Multics.

Originally, the developers Ken Thompson and Dennis Richie just wanted the game Space travel port to a PDP-7 computer. Because the PDP-7 did not meet the minimum requirements of Multics, Thompson and Richie removed functions from Multics that were not absolutely necessary. This minimal variant of the system became the hardware interface for Space Travel and later for Unics.

After Unix was also successfully used in the patent office of Bell Labratories, it became interesting for the company to further develop the system. From 1972 to 1973 Unix was re-implemented in the C programming language, which, in contrast to other systems, made it portable and development was much easier. In addition, pipes have been added which allow the output of one program to be used as input for a second program. By skilfully linking several simple tools, very complicated actions can be formulated within a single command. The new system was now called Unix V4.

Since AT&T, the parent company of Bell Labratories, was not allowed to enter new markets due to a court ruling, it was not possible for Bell to use Unix commercially. For this reason, the company makes the system, now in version 6, available for universities against reimbursement of expenses, including the source code. Development with and on Unix is ​​now also taking place on a large scale in the academic field. For example, network support was invented at the University of California at Berkeley. Berkeley presented with the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) a very popular variant of Unix is ​​also available.

In 1979 the last freely available Unix from AT&T appeared. After the group was broken up by the United States Department of Justice, it was given back the right to expand into the computer industry. AT&T tried now to use the popularity of Unix for commercial interests.

1972 Intel 8008


  • 8-bit processor
  • Speed: 0.5 MHz - 0.8 MHz
  • Socket: 18 pins

1973 TV typewriter

The TV typewriter was a computer terminal for connection to televisions. It was a "do it yourself" project developed by Don Lancaster and first published in Radio-Electronics magazine. The cost of the components was $ 120 or $ 275 for the later "TV Typewriter 2" model.


  • Display: 2 pages of 16 lines of 32 characters each on a television monitor
  • transistor-based architecture
  • Shift register memory
  • serial interface (1975)

1973 Xerox Alto (first computer with GUI and desktop metaphor)

The Xerox Alto was the first to use a GUI and the desktop metaphor. The 808 x 606 pixel screen could be rotated to "lengthways format". The computer was never commercially available, but several thousand copies were built. Some Alto's were given away at universities. The first WYSIWYG word processing programs called "Bravo" and "Gypsy", the first version of the object-oriented programming language "Smalltalk" and one of the first network-based multiplayer computer games "Alto Trek" were written for the Alto.


  • Screen: 808 x 606 pixels
  • CPU: 16 bit, TTL ICs, 400,000 instructions per second
  • Address space: 64 K 16-bit words, expandable up to 256 K words
  • Hard disk: 2 x 3 MB
  • 3 MBit Ethernet
  • Bootstrap software in ROM

1973 Alto Trek - multiplayer computer game

Alto Trek was one of the first network-based multiplayer computer games and was written for the Xerox Alto. In this game, the players control Klingon, Romulan or Federation spaceships and try to eliminate their fellow players.

1974 Intel 8080


  • Speed: 2 MHz
  • Socket: 40 pins
  • Command set: 46 commands
  • Register: 7 to 8 bit
  • Accumulator: 8 bit
  • Stack pointer: 16 bit
  • Program Counter: 16 bit
  • Data bus: 8 bit
  • Address bus: 16 bit

1975 MITS Altair 8800 (first commercially successful home computer)

The Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems Altair 8800 was based on the Intel 8080 CPU. The bus used was later elevated to the standard (IEEE696) under the name "S-100" and was used in almost all computers until around 1981.

1975 S-100 bus (see MITS Altair 8800)

1975 Altair BASIC - Microsoft's first product

This BASIC interpreter (this type of program was required to execute programs that were written using the "BASIC" programming language) was Microsoft's first product and was written for the MITS Altair. BASIC interpreters for various computers were Microsoft's core business until the 1980s.

1975 5¼-inch floppy disc (prototype)

Because of problems with the 8-inch disks (asymmetrical expansion when exposed to moisture), IBM developed the prototype of a 5¼-inch drive. However, the product never went into production because it was not expected to generate sufficient income.

1975 digital photo camera (prototype)

The first digital still camera was developed by Steve Sasson for Eastman Kodak. The device used solid-state CCD chips and saved images on a compact cassette. The resolution was 0.01 megapixels and the images were black and white. It took 23 seconds to take a picture.

1975 MOS Technology 6502

1976 5¼-inch floppy disc (production)

In 1976, two employees of Shugart Associates developed a 5¼ "drive for Wang Laboratories, who at the time were developing desktop computers for word processing and thought the 8" format was too large. At first 98.5 KB could be stored on a 5¼ floppy, which was later increased to 110 KB.

1976 Cray-1

The Cray-1 from "Cray Research" was a 64-bit supercomputer, one of the best known and most successful systems of its kind.

Technical specifications:

  • CPU: 80 MHz
  • Memory: 8 MB (16 banks, 50 ns memory cycle, 4 words per cycle)
  • Megaflops: 136 - 250

1976 Apple I.

This PC was Apple's first product and was originally priced at US $ 666.66. Housing, power supply, keyboard and monitor were not included. A cassette interface was later released for US $ 75. It is estimated that around 50 copies still exist. Today an Apple I costs between US $ 40,000 and US $ 50,000. (The last one was bought on eBay for $ 50,000.) In 2003, a software-compatible replica made of modern components was released for US $ 200.


  • CPU: MOS6502, 1 MHz
  • RAM: 4 KB, expandable up to 48 KB
  • Graphics: 40 x 24 characters

1976 IBM 3800 - first commercial laser printer

IBM introduces the world's first laser printer.

1977 Commodore PET

The Commodore PET was a very successful computer in the USA, UK and Canada. The first model, the PET 1000, was available in two versions: with 4 or 8 KB RAM. A 40 x 25 character monochrome screen and a datasette drive were installed (Datasette was Commodore's version of compact cassette drives for computers). All models used a MOS 6502 1 MHz processor and used Microsoft BASIC 1.0 - 4.0 as the operating system.

Double floppy drive CBM 4040 (5.25)

Various floppy drives were available as peripherals.

Commodore PET CBM Model 4032

Later models had larger keyboards, external datasette drives, larger screens and up to 96 KB of RAM.

1978 Intel 8086

1978 WordStar inventor: Rob Barnaby

WordStar was a very popular word processing program until the mid-80s, but it lacked WYSIWYG as it was intended for monitors that could only display text. The program was originally written for the CP / M operating system, but later ported to DOS. Various "add-on programs" were available with which tasks such as the creation of form letters or the spell check could be carried out. There are Windows versions that can run on Windows 3.1 to Windows 95.

1978 dBase (initially under the name "Vulcan") - inventor: Wayne Ratliff

1978 UCSD Pascal system

1979 ATARI 8-bit home computer

ATARI 8-bit computer with 6502 CPU clocked at 1.79MHz:

  • 1979-1982: 400, 800 series
  • 1982-1985: 600XL, 800XL, 1200XL, 1400XL, 1450XLD series
  • 1985-1989: 800XE, 65XE, 130XE, XEGS series

1979 Intel 8088

1979 86-DOS

This operating system from Seattle Computer Products was used for their microcomputer based on Intel's CPU 8086. Initially called QDOS ("Quick and Dirty Operating System"), 86-DOS was internally similar to Digital Research's widely used C / PM operating system, so that C / PM programs could be ported to 86-DOS more easily. A year later, 86-DOS was first licensed to Microsoft, and another year later, Microsoft acquired all rights to 86-DOS. This was followed by further development to MS-DOS and its offshoot PC-DOS for the IBM PC.

198x Mitsumi Quick Disk