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48 votes
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How did the various Soviet ZX Spectrum clones support Cyrillic text?

I own a clone produced in Ukrainian Soviet Republic - "ОРЕЛЬ БК-08". It supports Cyrillic and Latin fonts. The main idea is similar to ANSI.SYS approach for DOS. There is a special control ...
Vlad's user avatar
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42 votes
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How were Western computer chips reverse-engineered in USSR?

Little is known about how these computers and chips were made, because their development was top secret in the Soviet Union. As far as I know, Soviet Western-compatible ICs were made by copying ...
Algimantas's user avatar
  • 1,354
39 votes
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Why did Western designs suddenly overtake native Russian ones in the USSR?

I'm not sure your question is correct. You posit that native Soviet designs were ahead until some point around 1980, when "suddenly" clones of Western designs took over. In fact, Comecon ...
Michael Graf's user avatar
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37 votes

How were Western computer chips reverse-engineered in USSR?

It seems to be pretty much accepted wisdom that the Soviets completely cloned the Western chips and did not simply develop reimplementations of the same instruction sets. Since at the time it was ...
Igor Skochinsky's user avatar
37 votes

In what ways was the Soviet Strela computer "designed to function during a nuclear winter"? Or at least parts of it?

Normally, the concern for electronics would be surviving not the nuclear winter (let's face it - there will be plenty more pressing survival matters to attend to than computers used for ballistic ...
moonwalker's user avatar
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35 votes
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What soviet computer used trinary bits?

These were probably the Setun computers, built in the Soviet Union between 1959 and 1965. It used balanced ternary (with the digits 1, 0, and -1) for computations, and a three-valued logic (I haven't ...
Mark's user avatar
  • 8,586
25 votes
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Which ports are which on this Soviet ZX Spectrum clone?

No need for any special Spectrum knowledge. It's about power, and there is no rectifying, no appropriately sized capacitor and no voltage control elements on this board, so it most definitely does not ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
  • 224k
24 votes

How were Western computer chips reverse-engineered in USSR?

This answer is written from memory, corrections may be made later if I remember/research more details. It starts with historical background to put things into perspective. This answer is specifically ...
noop's user avatar
  • 341
21 votes
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What are these keys on the БК-0010-series keyboards, and what do they do?

Not sure if it's the same, but my BK-0010.01Sch keyboard works like this: Key Rus Eng Description / Function ПОВТ повтор Repeat Repeat last key pressed КТ Конец Текста End-of-text Discard edit line ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
  • 224k
19 votes

How were Western computer chips reverse-engineered in USSR?

You could reverse-engineer those early CPUs by grinding or etching away the top (plastic) layer of the chips down to the silicon die and examine the chip structures on an (optical) microscope. (...
tofro's user avatar
  • 35k
19 votes

Why did Western designs suddenly overtake native Russian ones in the USSR?

ETA: You don’t incorrectly claim that the Soviet Union was ever ahead of the United States in computing, but you use similar examples to some people who do. If so, you should appreciate the ...
Davislor's user avatar
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18 votes
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Were there any LSI-11 like home computers outside of Russia?

The Heathkit H11 was available either as a kit or pre-assembled. It never became really popular in the West, but it was one of the most powerful PCs available in 1978. It used the LSI-11 small format ...
RichF's user avatar
  • 9,336
18 votes
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What causes the monitor to reduce to four lines on BK 0010 Focal?

After pressing "AP2+CБP" key combination computer switches to extended memory mode, in which screen is reduced to 1/4 of original size giving about 12Kb memory of screen RAM to user (extending user ...
Алексей Киров's user avatar
16 votes

DEMOS commands: Cyrillic or Roman letters? Uppercase or lowercase?

DEMOS was an extension of 2.9 BSD, and all the commands, utilities, etc. were kept in place with their original names and everything. The major areas of said extension were: Add a rudimentary Russian ...
dvv's user avatar
  • 161
14 votes
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How compatible is the Leningrad clone with the "original" ZX Spectrum?

Leningrad is a primitive and not particularly compatible clone. However, it is pragmatic, so the incompatibilities are not always going to show up. The main differences are due to a completely ...
introspec's user avatar
  • 4,172
14 votes

Why did Western designs suddenly overtake native Russian ones in the USSR?

Economy of scale. The "scale" part requires an economy to back the development and the production by buying the products. The iron curtain separated the "west" (an economy with ~1 ...
fraxinus's user avatar
  • 1,324
13 votes

Which ports are which on this Soviet ZX Spectrum clone?

Looking at the linked schematic and the photo of the internals, I'd say the ports are the following (listed from the reset switch over) Reset Power Composite video (or possibly monochrome luma only) ...
mnem's user avatar
  • 4,537
13 votes
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Why was the Hobbit withdrawn from the UK market?

As already said (in the comments) it will take more than just a few interviews to get an idea why. It's the crux of this kind of questions as there is rarely a definitive answer. Looking at the ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
  • 224k
13 votes
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DEMOS commands: Cyrillic or Roman letters? Uppercase or lowercase?

The commands are more or less the same ones we're used to from BSDs. Examples cat and ls are clearly visible on this image from the Russian wikipedia page. But some things, such as the shell, appear ...
Omar and Lorraine's user avatar
13 votes

Did DEMOS have a C compiler?

2.9BSD, being a self-hosting operating system, includes all the source code and all the tools necessary to build it. That includes the C compiler, the assembler, and everything. There is no mention ...
Omar and Lorraine's user avatar
12 votes

In what ways was the Soviet Strela computer "designed to function during a nuclear winter"? Or at least parts of it?

The paper, Strela 1, the First Soviet Computer: Political Success and Technological Failure, by Hiroshi Ichikawa, Hiroshima University, July-September 2006, would suggest otherwise. There is no ...
Fred's user avatar
  • 680
11 votes

How compatible is the Leningrad clone with the "original" ZX Spectrum?

In the USSR, the analog TV sets used SECAM, not PAL, so I imagine that the timings will be different between the UK Spectrums and the Leningrad. SECAM is, like PAL just the colour encoding and on top ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
  • 224k
11 votes

Which ports are which on this Soviet ZX Spectrum clone?

Computer "Composit" (Leningrad+). http://sblive.narod.ru/ZX-Spectrum/Composite/Composite.htm http://sblive.narod.ru/ZX-Spectrum/Composite/CompositeSCH-MONT.gif Left to right: KEMPSTON Right Left ...
A. Rumlin's user avatar
  • 391
11 votes

Which ports are which on this Soviet ZX Spectrum clone?

Only you can decide which port is which as you are the only one with access to your HW. I would use multi-meter and or short circuit tester: Power supply I see no stabilisator nor DC/DC nor AC/DC ...
Spektre's user avatar
  • 7,286
10 votes

How were Western computer chips reverse-engineered in USSR?

Computer development wasn't necessarily "top secret" as is commonly said about anything that has to do with the Soviet Union. The engineers there used the same methods as other companies in Taiwan. ...
Nick Bailuc's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

Looking for an "Inspector" or "Detective" game (BASIC?)

A post to /r/tipofmyjoystick has brought the answer virtually instantaneously: the original game is Inspector Clew-So; other locations, some including the plaintext source can be found by searching ...
Leo B.'s user avatar
  • 19.2k
10 votes

What are these keys on the БК-0010-series keyboards, and what do they do?

АР2 I have no idea what it could mean I was trying to edit it into Raffzahn's (otherwise good) answer, but it looks like it's easier to answer this tiny part of the question in a separate post. АР2 ...
Quassnoi's user avatar
  • 493
9 votes

Were there any LSI-11 like home computers outside of Russia?

It's possibly a stretch, but the General Instruments CP1600 which was in the Intellivision, though otherwise unsuccessful, was based on the PDP-11 architecture. The Intellivision was a product of ...
Tommy's user avatar
  • 36.9k
9 votes
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Did any computer actually use the KR580VM1?

Sounds like a great product, right? It does. 64 KiB code + 64 KiB data is about the ideal structure for an 8 bit CPU with 16 bit addressing. The thing is I cannot find any evidence that this chip ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
  • 224k
8 votes

Looking for an "Inspector" or "Detective" game (BASIC?)

No sign of the actual game but found a mention of it in the "besm6" mailing list: https://groups.google.com/d/msg/besm6/qCfnrd8i0jQ/Ac1j6ik60akJ It was based on a BASIC game, publishes in the '70s ...
Igor Skochinsky's user avatar

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