Skip to comments.William Lowe, the 'father of the IBM PC,' dies at 72
Posted on 10/29/2013 10:24:45 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
After his proposal for a quick market entry via Atari was rejected, Lowe was given one year to design and produce a personal computer that would be market-ready.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.cnet.com ...
Makes me feel old. He didn’t die, his PIC quit. RIP.
My condolences to the family of Mr Lowe, but the article is mistaken. Philip Don Estridge is the "Father of the IBM PC" and he passed away in a plane crash in 1985.
Another one bytes the dust. [sigh]
Prior to the introduction of the IBM PC, there were PCs with a hundred IRQs and other great technological features. The IBM PC set a standard, but it was a leap backwards technology wise. IBM wanted to ensure the PC never replaced the mainframe in office settings. I was happy to see IBM leave the PC market.
He was simply nibbled to death. *goingtohell*
” there were PCs with a hundred IRQs “
The IBM-PC had 256 IRQs.
Had no idea.
Considering its OS and architecture it should of been called ‘Lowputer’.
The other PCs had those IRQs available for user addons. The IBM didn't.
I wonder how many can be blamed on this guy, or did he fight against them?
did you mean “proprietary?”
The Intel chip provided the IRQs and there were and are 256 of them. You might be thinking about the hardware interrupts, which there were 15 available. (16 total but one, IRQ 2, was used to chain two PICs together. Each PIC had 8 interrupt lines.)
How would the computer world be different if IBM handled the PC like their typical in-house projects with secret schematics and custom chips (or renumbered standard chips with non-standard pinouts)?
Lowe argued for an open design, thinking third party products such as hardware add-ons and software would create a larger market, licensing opportunities, and dominance of the market, would outweigh a closed design and high licensing fees IBM was known for. He was right.
What he didn’t count on was losing a lawsuit about the ability to black box the BIOS that would allow other companies to clone the PC.
Black boxing was the process in which there were two teams; one would discover the capabilities of the BIOS and another would build a new BIOS completely from generic technical requirements the first team wrote. The second team would never lay eyes on or touch a real BIOS.
In other words, the second team would create a new BIOS using a list of features the first team discovered but never directly copying from the IBM BIOS.
IBM thought for sure they’d win that lawsuit, but they didn’t. That lawsuit opened the doors for all kinds of intellectual property theft. One good thing is that it did lead to further patent laws protecting software. Patent laws are not perfect yet but it helped.
Yeah - looks like the spell checker bit me!
The PC would have died as it was expensive. Other companies like Acorn Computers (Ironic that the IBM was code named ‘Acorn’) now produces the ARM chip which is used in most hand held devices like cell phones. There would have still been massive competition but I think the market would have stagnated for a number of years. However, we might have had some great breakthroughs in technology instead of the same-old PC we’ve had. I love the PC but what might have been otherwise?
You are correct. The IBM PC greatly limited the hardware interrupts.
Total change of topic, and technically I suppose are right, but to me "passing away" in a "plane crash" don't seem to belong in the same sentence.
No biggie, just sayin'
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