Friday, February 5, 2010

The Macintosh and its Imitators

While I was busy learning how to develop software for the IBM PC and it's copies, Apple was marketing a complete new kind of computer called the Macintosh. I didn't know anybody who owned one, and somehow I never found my way into a computer store to try one out. My only experience of the Mac was what I read about it in magazines. It certainly looked cool and amazing.

To me it was a very distant phenomenon, sort of like a distant land. Very exotic and unreachable. One thing seemed clear from what I read. Programming a Macintosh required a different way of thinking about software. Microsoft did produce a version of QuickBASIC for the Mac.

Other manufacturers were working hard to create their own Mac-like products. Atari has their ST computer with GEM desktop. Commodore announced the Amiga which had a similar windowing system as the Mac. Microsoft was demoing their very primitive early version of Windows as far back as 1985. Berkeley Softworks released GEOS, which was a Mac style operating environment for the Commodore 64, the Apple II, and later on the PC. Nowadays you can still buy the PC version which is sold by its new developer Breadbox Computer Company under the name Breadbox Ensemble.

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