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Questions tagged [history]

History of computers, digital electronics, hardware manufacturers, and software developers.

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30 votes
3 answers
5k views

What was the first operating system to feature a separate kernel?

Kernels are programs that abstract the hardware of a computer to some extent, allowing other programs to use standardised system calls (e.g. malloc) to perform hardware tasks (e.g. writing to memory, ...
wizzwizz4's user avatar
  • 18.7k
26 votes
4 answers
4k views

What register size did early computers use?

Prompted by this question querying the prevalence of byte-addressable memory on machines with 32 bit registers: Why is every address in a micro-controller only 8 bits in size? I'm familiar with the ...
Sean Houlihane's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
4k views

Computer graphics before the modern GPU [closed]

Modern computers use a graphics processing unit in order to provide hardware-accelerated graphical operations. Conceptually, I am used to thinking about graphics as a bidimensional array of ...
Matheus Moreira's user avatar
18 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why is the 8254's default rate 18.2 Hz?

The Intel 8253/8254 timer, in its default configuration, triggers IRQ0 18.2 times per second. Why this strange rate, and not something like 60 Hz (to match the most common video refresh rate) or 100 ...
Mark's user avatar
  • 8,686
20 votes
8 answers
2k views

Retrocomputing software development process/methodologies

This is a test question based on this meta post. If the question can be reworded to be more on-topic, please feel free to suggest improvements. This is an open ended question about software ...
JAL's user avatar
  • 9,620
21 votes
1 answer
947 views

Logo of a bow tie guy with a spoon

I was in the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley last week, and I saw this badge. I know I've seen that logo somewhere before, but I can't remember where! Does anyone know where it's from?
Allanrbo's user avatar
  • 311
48 votes
8 answers
9k views

What was the first programming book

I'm curious, what was the first book, about programming for digital computers. I tried to google it, but it led me to multiple results. I'm mostly interested in the language it was about and the ...
Bálint's user avatar
  • 1,103
34 votes
1 answer
3k views

What soviet computer used trinary bits?

Discussing 'non-standard byte sizes' with co-workers today, one mentioned hearing of soviet experiments with computers that used three-state bytes - and not just what is common today, 0, 1 and High ...
SF.'s user avatar
  • 7,115
28 votes
7 answers
7k views

Over its lifetime, how many Apple II computers were sold?

It would be nice to break it down by model if possible.
nevster's user avatar
  • 1,048
36 votes
6 answers
4k views

Why did the Bell 103 modem use a data rate of 300 bps?

Virtually every telephone modem in existence runs at a data rate that's a multiple of the Bell 103A's 300 bps. Why was the base 300 bps chosen in the first place?
Mark's user avatar
  • 8,686
51 votes
11 answers
13k views

What is the oldest computer capable of running a modern version of GNU/Linux?

A bit of a trivia question: What is the oldest hardware capable of running a modern Linux-based operating system, including user-space? (Not necessarily GNU userspace, but running a standard GNU/Linux ...
Jonas Czech's user avatar
20 votes
2 answers
2k views

What was the earliest non-valve, non-mechanical computer?

Just wondering how history questions will fare here. They could be a good addition to our scope. Pretty much exactly as the title says. Some of the earliest computers were based on valve systems or ...
Åna's user avatar
  • 431
20 votes
9 answers
2k views

Were there any commercially available graphical interfaces before the apple Lisa?

I just finished the Steve Jobs biography and I thought... Was the apple Lisa really the first commercially available Graphical interface? This is just out of interest but I'll be really interested ...
Peter Warrington's user avatar

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