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The Apple II, circa 1978. Its OS is now available... will it be ported? (via Computer History Museum)

 

Back in the 70’s, Apple was just a fledgling start-up created by a couple of guys named Steve and Ronald Wayne in an effort to bring affordable personal computers to the masses. The company released their first home-brew, known as the Apple I, computer back in 1976. It was sold as a kit consisting of a motherboard, CPU, RAM and a rudimentary textual video chip (for text only). A year later the company became incorporated, Ronald sold his shares back to the company (for $800- probably not a good decision) and released the Apple II to the market. Their next instalment was very different from their first offering, which came completely assembled and featured onboard sound, color graphics, motherboard expansion slots for RAM (up to 48k could be installed), gaming paddles and a BASIC programming language built-in. There were no hard-drives or disk-drives for that matter, as disk-drives back in the day relied on complex hardware and software combinations to run correctly. To solve that problem, Wozniak designed a disk controller (unveiled at CES in 1978) using several integrated circuits running emulation software to function. To gain access to organized data stored on the disk, Apple turned to Shepardson Microsystems’ Paul Laughton, who created Apple’s file manager, BASIC interface and utilities, which became known as ‘Apple II DOS version 3.1’. Shift forward in time by 35 years and Paul, along with the DigiBarn Computer Museum, finally released the 1978 source code for those who may be interested (for non-commercial use only). The site has also released source code for other popular software, including Adobe Photoshop along with Apple’s McPaint and Quickdraw.

 

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