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Was the IBM PC Open Hardware?

On Friday 22 April 2005 20:06 DFS wrote:

> And lest you forget, the PC software and hardware industry has
> thrived under Windows as no other industry ever has in history.

In another thread, DFS actually raises an interesting point imo.

My recollection of the IBM PC is a very expensive piece of kit, which
had two advantages.

1. It was IBM ("nobody ever got fired for buying IBM")

2. With the IBM name, the concept of the Personal Computer became a
serious, business-thing, no longer a toy or hobbyist or niche piece
of equipment.

However, I have another recollection.
Within months, it was being cloned!
I don't know if IBM could have patented parts of it, or indeed whether
they did.  Certainly one was prevented from copying their BIOS.
That apart, I had the impression that they didn't care.

Perhaps you folks know different?

Whatever, it has led to what amounts to an "open" design - a piece of
equipment built from umpteen components, with many many manufacturers
competing for each major component in a very competitive manner.
Sure, I've heard tell of "RAM price-fixing", but generally the market
seems to rule.  Anybody can buy the bits and build one.

DFS phrases it as:-
"the PC software and hardware industry has thrived under Windows".

I wonder.
Could it not be said that Microsoft has thrived under the IBM PC, and
that is mainly because the IBM PC was an "open" design?
Would things have been different if it had not been?

Bill
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bbgruff (6628)
4/22/2005 10:42:23 PM
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B Gruff wrote:

> DFS phrases it as:-
> "the PC software and hardware industry has thrived under Windows".
> 
> I wonder.
> Could it not be said that Microsoft has thrived under the IBM PC, and
> that is mainly because the IBM PC was an "open" design?
> Would things have been different if it had not been?
> 
> Bill

Exactly, without dozens of other companies building of IBM's work, MS 
would have only had a single vendor to push DOS through.
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callanca (1273)
4/22/2005 10:50:07 PM
B Gruff poked his little head through the XP firewall and said:

> Could it not be said that Microsoft has thrived under the IBM PC, and
> that is mainly because the IBM PC was an "open" design?
> Would things have been different if it had not been?

Yes.  And if IBM had been thinking a little harder.  Actually, even though
it gave MS a big boost, it was also a boon for the rest of us.

With Linux, we reap (years later) what Microsoft sowed, which allowed PC
hardware to grow.

-- 
When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
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iso
4/23/2005 12:11:06 AM
Nigel Feltham wrote:

> 
> Of course in typical MS 'shit doesn't stick to us' fashion the customers
> blamed the companies (such as Apricot) who sold them the machines rather
> than the software supplier who'd lied to both the sellers and the end
> users.
> 
> 
Par for the OSS course, eh?  A hardware manufacturer sells an "IBM 
compatible clone PC that has not been tested for IBM compatibility and 
the blame is laid to Microsoft?  Tough crowd!
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billwg (581)
4/24/2005 12:27:54 AM
On Sun, 24 Apr 2005 02:08:58 +0100, Nigel Feltham
<nigel.feltham@btinternet.com> wrote:

You could purchase the PC Tech Ref. Manual from IBM for about $100.00.
It came in a nice cloth covered blue binder and not only contained the
entire BIOS listing but the schematic as well.

Of course IBM got even by sucking PS/2 users into purchasing the
"Advanced Diagnostic Kit" which sold for about $150.00 and included a
semi functional diskette and the instructions to hit ctrl-A on boot to
get into advanced diags.....
IOW the user just paid $150.00 to learn how to hit ctrl-a.
IBM was sued many times on that one, but settled every time.

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flatfish4 (6248)
4/24/2005 12:29:04 AM
Philip Callan wrote:

> B Gruff wrote:
> 
>> DFS phrases it as:-
>> "the PC software and hardware industry has thrived under Windows".
>> 
>> I wonder.
>> Could it not be said that Microsoft has thrived under the IBM PC, and
>> that is mainly because the IBM PC was an "open" design?
>> Would things have been different if it had not been?
>> 
>> Bill
> 
> Exactly, without dozens of other companies building of IBM's work, MS
> would have only had a single vendor to push DOS through.

Don't forget that when the PC was new MS licenced DOS to IBM under a
non-exclusive licence then licenced DOS to other manufacturers under the
claim that the actual hardware design didn't matter and as long as the
machine used an 8086 CPU, ran their DOS and read their floppy format it
would run the same applications as the IBM machine - until the other PC
manufacturer's customers actually tried to run those applications. 

Of course in typical MS 'shit doesn't stick to us' fashion the customers
blamed the companies (such as Apricot) who sold them the machines rather
than the software supplier who'd lied to both the sellers and the end
users.


0
4/24/2005 1:08:58 AM
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