The Creation of the IBM PC (BYTE, 15th Anniversary, 1990)

David J Bradley tells the story, starting in 1980 as he finishes his work on the DataMaster…

In August 1980, I had finished my work on what was to become the IBM System/23 DataMaster. The DataMaster was an Intel 8085-based system intended to run business applications written in BASIC. I had written some of the device-control code for that system and was looking at extending the design to the 8086 architecture.

I had heard rumors of a task force that was looking for a low-cost system design. The project sounded interesting…

Then my manager called me in. He told me that IBM’s Boca Raton division had been given the job of building a low-cost system…

At that time, the design for the machine existed only as a few descriptive charts. A year later, on August 12, 1981, we announced the IBM Personal Computer. Here is the story of how we made the design decisions that shaped the IBM PC.

via Wikipedia on CGA hardware

via this article on hackery to produce a 1024 colour mode in CGA

via this thread on a new trick for Acorn’s Electron

See also All the BYTE issues, scanned

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So, this is an intriguing little machine.

Casually, there doesn’t seem to be a trove of information about in on the internet.

But we have a machine running BASIC with 256K of bank switched RAM, 2 floppies, that supports 2 users. There was also an option to attache a hard drive to it.

I’d love to know more about the underlying OS, whether the BASIC has any access to the additional RAM, how/what the other user could do, etc.

Anyone have any info on this system?

There is a System 23 directory on Bitsavers with many different manuals.

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That’s perfect, thanks jecel.

Here are IBM’s pages on the Datamaster. And here’s a TV ad, unsurprisingly rather dated:

This is a really neat system. The BASIC has some very clever ideas in it, including indexed files and a built in screen form processing bit.

Would like to know more about its internals.

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