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Amiga.org The "Not Quite Amiga but still computer related category" Alternative Operating Systems The early history of Mac "multitasking," and Microsoft bytecode interpretation...

Alternative Operating Systems This forum is dedicated to discussions of alternatives to the Commodore Amiga Platform, such as Linux distributions, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and others.

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Old 03-01-2005, 02:05 PM   #1
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Default The early history of Mac "multitasking," and Microsoft bytecode interpretation...

I've been drowning in Apple history these past few days, for fairly obvious reasons, and it figures I'd hit something relevant eventually...

Have a look.
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Old 03-01-2005, 02:55 PM   #2
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Default Re: The early history of Mac "multitasking," and Microsoft bytecode interpretation...

I remember way back when at a show a presenter was talking about multi-tasking he had 3 balls in his had.

MS-DOS (IE PC hardware of the time)- he placed 2 balls behind his back and waved the 1 ball in the air.

MAC- he toss 1 ball in the air then stop it grab the next ball and toss it but at all times he had the 3 balls seen but only 1 was juggled.

Amiga- he started juggling 3 balls and talking about how the amiga was only truly multi-tasking home machine of it's time.

I always liked that presentation
:-D
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Old 03-01-2005, 03:27 PM   #3
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Default Re: The early history of Mac "multitasking," and Microsoft bytecode interpretation...

Quote:
nilix wrote:

Amiga- he started juggling 3 balls and talking about how the amiga was only truly multi-tasking home machine of it's time.
Yeah, however 'perfect' the implementation was or wasn't (as was argued on ANN over the Wikipedia entry not too long ago), it was certainly the first 'home machine' to expect and prepare for the modern use-case from the start. Or if not 'the first' (I keep waiting for some rare home UNIX box that sold three units in 1979 to come up and bite me in the ***), the first to do it in a fashion eminently recognizable as "the way everyone does it today."

Which becomes a mouthful, so it's no wonder everyone thinks "we"'re nuts. :-P

Apparently Macintosh had a sort of threading in from launch, but the anecdote goes to show how "Oh, wow, *really* at-least-presenting-the-appearance-of doing two things at once" was brought in once proven that it could even be attempted on such 'low-end' machines. Which, of course, demonstrates symptoms of navel-recursion and that darn time-to-market pressure, since the timesharing systems many of those guys might've studied on probably specced out just as weak.

Edit: And of course, to be human and state the obvious, the 'pcode' part is interesting because it shows MS using abstraction layers to subsume "competing" platforms from the start... and had commercial success with it, while, say, Sun's record with their little experiment might have been more mixed. (Subsuming here more amounts to 'getting their way' versus the limits of the hardware, since it's doubtful that code was very portable, but then, that's a core value, worthy of note...)
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Old 03-01-2005, 10:28 PM   #4
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Default Re: The early history of Mac "multitasking," and Microsoft bytecode interpretation...

Quote:
Yeah, however 'perfect' the implementation was or wasn't (as was argued on ANN over the Wikipedia entry not too long ago), it was certainly the first 'home machine' to expect and prepare for the modern use-case from the start. Or if not 'the first' (I keep waiting for some rare home UNIX box that sold three units in 1979 to come up and bite me in the ***), the first to do it in a fashion eminently recognizable as "the way everyone does it today."
As much as I enjoy jumping on the Amiga bandwagon I'm afraid I can't in this case. OS-9 was the first in 1983 for the 68000, and actually was multitasking pre-emptively in 1980 on 8-bit systems.
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Old 03-01-2005, 10:48 PM   #5
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Default Re: The early history of Mac "multitasking," and Microsoft bytecode interpretation...

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As much as I enjoy jumping on the Amiga bandwagon I'm afraid I can't in this case. OS-9 was the first in 1983 for the 68000, and actually was multitasking pre-emptively in 1980 on 8-bit systems.
Quite agreed. The thing about OS-9 is -- and the reason I qualified the above thus -- did it ever ship by default as a preload or one-true-OS on a 'personal computer'?

Everyone with a CoCo of any model seemed to wind up with it (in fact, I rather messed up an original CoCo I was gifted trying to get the former owner's copy going), but which-if-any vendors ever included it "in the box," and when?
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Old 03-02-2005, 12:30 AM   #6
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Default Re: The early history of Mac "multitasking," and Microsoft bytecode interpretation...

Rather than edit myself again, nnh... I should mention I got my start on/with Tandy myself, though that was a 1000SX, so the whole CoCo scene kind of blew under my radar until it was Too Late. So I definitely think that 'forgotten' scene deserves credit where credit is due, too.

But to explain where I think the Amiga truly and maybe-if-we're-lucky-undeniably fits in... Look at what you got in the box: Computer. Multitasking OS with a windowing environment. 2-button mouse.

Flip ahead 10, 15, 20 years. You go out to buy "a computer." What do you get in the box? Computer. Multitasking OS with a windowing environment. 2-button mouse. (Unless you're an Apple diehard, anyway.)

Look at the way you interacted with the machine -- GUI for most of it, CLI for some of it. Look at the software you ran on it. The "interaction model" didn't undergo many drastic changes. Sure, the menus and screens are a little weird, but not nearly as weird as the shift Microsoft's platform underwent going from "3.x" to "95," or *NIX systems underwent trying to settle on whether "desktop environments" were even a good idea.

The sheer concept that you'd be sitting here with iTunes or WinAMP or XMMS or, um, Prayer? blaring while posting to Amiga.org from software running in a window, then knocking off to play some Quake or something full-screen? That the boundaries of the human interface were going to be drawn that way -- consistency for some things, skins and full-screen for others, and a constant squabble over which is better? Well, yeah, from the moment you saw the Mac, you might've been thinking along those lines, but Commodore got to be the first ones to cram that possibility in cardboard and slap a price tag on it.

OS-9 gets "multitasking," but I'm pretty sure Amiga gets "first consumer product to present what would become dominant paradigms for normal humans interacting with a multitasking system," for better or worse, and however exciting that is. Could anyone have possibly planned this? I dunno, but who knew sliding a puck around and pointing at virtual sheets of paper was going to become universally-accepted in the first place?

[Now if anyone knows how to convey *that* distinction succinctly, let me know.]
[Edit: Yaargh, and in cleaning that up before submitting, I did leave off the basic question: OS-9 didn't have a desktop/Finder/Workbench equivalent until after the Mac and Amiga had launched, riiight? I have the dim and possibly-incorrect concept that it was more oriented around virtual terminals or something like, but I also have a similarly vague memory that something 'windowy' or 'Finderesque' was available by the time TRS gave up the line. :-?]
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