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Era markers: MSDOS 30th birthday

The 30th birthday of the date when Microsoft bought the operating system it needed to meet IBM contracts from Seattle Computers was a couple of days ago. It had a good ten year run during the 80’s and it marked the end of the early PC era. David Strom waxes nostalgic in My Love Affair With PC-DOS remembering his career start supporting MSDOS. He avoids OS/2 but it was that system, not Windows or the Macintosh, that marked the end of the MSDOS era.

The early PC era was that of TRSDOS and the other systems that ran Z80, 80×0, and 6502 (Apple II) eight bit CPU’s that opened the era of the microcomputer in the last half of the 70’s. That early era was short, really only about four years of vitality although they did fade gradually as the IBM PC took up the mainstream during the 80’s. The early PC era defined concepts. Word Processors and client side editors became potent tools. VisiCalc defined the spreadsheet paradigm for economic modeling. It was the era of 300 baud modems and 10 mb/s ethernet peer networks were really something.

Things have changed. Change moved into the background where it isn’t so visible in the PC anymore although you can see it in related devices.

but only 30 years! We used to think you were over the hill at 30 but that age is only a third of a modern life span. People in their middle age have seen the entire PC evolution in front of them. Such change with such a wide impact on so many aspects of human lives and society is rather special and unique. Perhaps the closest era to it is the latter part of the 19th century as the telephone and electricity and so much else transformed society.

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