mac comps

Tony Karakashian tonyk at
Thu Oct 17 19:18:24 PDT 2002

>> As I recall, the BIOS stuff was kept under wraps, and the early IBM-like
>> architectures 'clones' the BIOS, earning the name PC-clones.

You're both mostly correct.  The IBM arch wasn't designed to be open, 
however, they failed to predict the market that would arise.  Compaq
surprised them and everyone by reverse-engineering their BIOS and making a
clone.  For those too young to remember, it was the infamous Compaq "luggable"
as portable was only a loose term. :)  One of those was one of the first PCs
I worked with, but I digress.  One of MS' successes was the fact that they
didn't have an exclusivity contract with IBM.  Why did they?  IBM was the
only ones making PCs, so they didn't need to restrict MS' actions.  IBM,
interestingly, didn't even put a whole lot of thought into Compaq, or many
of the other clones that popped during that era, as everyone knew...
"IBM-compatible" meant you might get to a DOS prompt, but you were damn
lucky if you could do anything else.  It was only when the BIOSes started
to become REALLY compatible that they introduced MCA, way too late, to
close it back down.

Trust me, kids, if you think we live in interesting PC times now, you 
ain't seen nothin'!  :)

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