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 [ 3 posts ] 
 Oral history of the 68000 
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Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2013 5:43 am
Posts: 189
This is an interesting read -- a bunch of Motorola employees discussing the genesis of the 68K.

The remarks are quite frank, including those of one participant who said, "Our manufacturing practices were pretty bad back then, low yields, long cycle times and poor productivity. In 1978, Motorola and Hitachi entered into a technology exchange venture. [...] I traveled to Hitachi about 10 to 12 times a year for about three years. Each time I went I took a couple of people with me; operators, technicians, engineers, manufacturing supervisors. [...] We brought a lot back and injected it into our manufacturing and it helped greatly, especially when we built our newest factory in the early eighties. That became the factory that built most of the 68K products – a new 5 inch factory, MOS-8."

The discussion moderator, Dave House (an Intel employee), makes some revealing comments as well. "I think it was pretty well acknowledged by those of us over at Intel that the 68000 had a superior architecture. The software people preferred—the programmers and customers preferred the 68K architecture over that of the 8086, which had a lot of vestiges of the 8080 and past history."

Also mentioned of course are IBM and the IBM PC and Steve Jobs and the Lisa.

One final excerpt: "But I don't think people today can understand the sense of excitement daily; it was palpable, in the halls. And the 1979 through 1985 timeframe, and the sense of empowerment that it created, at least in the design community, and at our customers—of people getting excited, “Hey, this means that life as we know it with mainframes and minicomputers is on the way out.” And that opens up totally new vistas."



Mon Jan 21, 2013 3:40 pm WWW

Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:15 am
Posts: 4
I was certainly a CPU snob back in the day with the 68K > 8086.

I loved the orthogonal nature of the 68K, it was like the PDP-11 only accessible to human beings (I just wish we had as good of an assembler as MACRO-11, frankly). I like the wacky stuff that the original Mac OS did with traps and code resources and patching the ROMs, pretty amazing stuff.

Hacking the PDP 11/70 with RSTS/E and MACRO-11/BASIC-PLUS was some good times.

Did a lot of work on Alpha Micros (another 68K based mini) back then as well. The AM2000, which is a 68020 based machine, was a sweet little work group computer even if did run that mostly awful AMOS :). Don't even get me started on that hack of a network they had back then.

Mind, that was mostly work in BASIC with ISAM files (key rebuilds \o/!), but the systems were effective. Decent machine for the day.

Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:51 pm

Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:54 pm
Posts: 1754
Nice post Jeff, and a good read!

Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:50 pm
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