MSX's historical position

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Por [D-Tail]

Ascended (8249)

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14-04-2005, 11:20

Something I've been wondering about lately: what was the real position in general ICT history of MSX? At the moment I'm busy studying for some examinations, and most study books speak of computers like C64 as in 'The rise of the home computers'. MSX is never mentioned! Wasn't MSX the first (or one of the first) real home computer standards, which preserved backward compatibility and all those artfacts? Didn't MSX play a major role in ICT history?

I'm a bit curious. If MSX really resulted in a new way of home computing, why is MSX never mentioned in books?

Excerpt:Zo werd in het begin van de pc ontwikkeling het DOS-besturingsprogramma ontworpen met een werkgeheugenomvang van 640 kb (sic), wat destijds zeer ruim leek. Toch werd er niet een geheel nieuw besturingssysteem ontworpen, maar werden er allerlei kunstgrepen met 'expanded' en 'extended' geheugen ontworpen om met deze beperking om te gaan.Translation:Thus, in the introduction period of the personal computer, the DOS was designed with a main memory capacity of 640 kilobytes, which seemed much at that time. However, a new operating system didn't evolve, but instead all sorts of trics and workarounds were used, using terms like 'expanded' and 'extended' memory, to deal with this restriction.
Isn't this the very same with MSX - the memory mapper structure? Wasn't Unix the very first OS for 8080/8088/8086? I'm looking forward to reading your (conspiracy Tongue) theories!

Edit:
Excerpt taken from De wederzijdse beïnvloeding van technologie en maatschappij - Een technology Assessment-benadering, by W.A. Smit and E.C.J. van Oost, published by Uitgeverij Coutinho, Bussum, 1999. ISBN: 90 6283 169 9.

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Por Jazzy

Champion (471)

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14-04-2005, 11:54

To be honest, I think you overestimate the influence of MSX. Don't forget that MSX had only succes in a few countries and even in those countries it was never as big as Commodore and Sinclair.

Por Samor

Prophet (2106)

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14-04-2005, 11:57

I agree with Jazzy. While we liked it a lot, I don't think it's been all that big. The thing that sets MSX apart from C64 and Sinclair is probably the large Japanese influence, but that's it. C64 was WAY bigger at the time.

Por snout

Ascended (15184)

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14-04-2005, 11:59

The commercial success of a computer system and its historical value are two entirely different things. I think we tend to underestimate the role MSX played in history. It may not be as amazing as Nishi sketched during his Tilburg 2001 lecture (At least the very first CD-ROM drives were designed for MSX ^_^).

I recently read that the MSX1 documentation announced MSX2 was intended to have (support for) wireless keyboards. Add to that things like the VDP and the intention to give single chips multiple capabilities/tasks and I can't help but think there was a vision behind MSX that was later embraced by other platforms as well, or at least inspired them. Still, at the time developments went extremely rapidly and in some cases it can be just a wild guess instead of actually finding out who was first with which idea/technology...

Por wolf_

Ambassador_ (9892)

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14-04-2005, 12:26

The msx could've been bigger if the system was a bit more powereful. A faster cpu, a major faster VDP with DMA and fm-pac built-in orso, would make a major difference..

Por Jazzy

Champion (471)

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14-04-2005, 12:27

The msx could've been bigger if the system was a bit more powereful. A faster cpu, a major faster VDP with DMA and fm-pac built-in orso, would make a major difference..Yes, the turbo R was a huge worldwide succes. Smile

Por snout

Ascended (15184)

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14-04-2005, 12:28

It certainly could have, but this discussion is not on how big MSX was (or could have been) in a commercial perspective, but on the influence it had on other developments in computer technology, in other words: what role did MSX play in the history of computing?

Por djh1697

Paragon (1601)

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14-04-2005, 12:36

I have to disagree with my MSX friends, the Russians used MSX in there schools and colleges. Indeed there was even an MSX2 onboard the Russian space station. (one of the reasons for that might be that the US were not selling the Russians computer hardware at the time!)

To answer your question about compatability, all MSX software will work on future generations (i.e. all MSX1 softare will work on any MSX, MSX2 specific software will not work on MSX1 though) provided it conforms to the MSX specification, i.e. all the BIOS routines are used etc

Is that an influence on the computer scene ?

Por wolf_

Ambassador_ (9892)

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14-04-2005, 12:39

Yes, the turbo R was a huge worldwide succes. Smile

I'm talking 1985 here Smile

Por Jazzy

Champion (471)

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14-04-2005, 13:03

I have to disagree with my MSX friends, the Russians used MSX in there schools and colleges.Only 6000 computers and only in and around Moscow. I'm sorry but that's almost nothing.

These 6000 computers were manufactured by Yamaha in Japan. The Russians didn't even bother to copy the MSX. No MSX computer or even a clone was build or sold in Russia, never.

Influence? I think not, not in Russia that is.

Por Jazzy

Champion (471)

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14-04-2005, 13:27

I'm talking 1985 here SmileOkay, that's fair. Well, let's take a look at what happened worldwide in the begin years of the MSX standard.

1983:
Compaq Computer Corp. introduced first PC clone that used the same software as the IBM PC. With the success of the clone, Compaq recorded first-year sales of $111 million, the most ever by an American business in a single year.

With the introduction of its PC clone, Compaq launched a market for IBM-compatible computers that by 1996 had achieved a 83-percent share of the personal computer market. Designers reverse-engineered the Compaq clone, giving it nearly 100-percent compatibility with the IBM.

Microsoft announced Word, originally called Multi-Tool Word, and Windows. The latter doesn´t ship until 1985, although the company said it would be on track for an April 1984 release. In a marketing blitz, Microsoft distributed 450,000 disks demonstrating its Word program in the November issue of PC World magazine.

1984:
Apple Computer launched the Macintosh, the first successful mouse-driven computer with a graphic user interface, with a single $1.5 million commercial during the 1984 Super Bowl. Based on the Motorola 68000 microprocessor, the Macintosh included many of the Lisa´s features at a much more affordable price: $2,500.

IBM released its PC Jr. and PC-AT. The PC Jr. failed, but the PC-AT, several times faster than original PC and based on the Intel 80286 chip, claimed success with its notable increases in performance and storage capacity, all for about $4,000. It also included more RAM and accommodated high-density 1.2-megabyte 5 1/4-inch floppy disks.

1985:
Able to hold 550 megabytes of prerecorded data, the new CD-ROMs grew out of regular CDs on which music is recorded. Their capacity is great enough that they rarely fill up, even with information that would take up thousands of pages of paper.

The first general-interest CD-ROM product released after Philips and Sony announced the CD-ROM in 1984 was "Grolier´s Electronic Encyclopedia," which came out in 1985. The 9 million words in the encyclopedia only took up 12 percent of the available space. The same year, computer and electronics companies worked together to set a standard for the disks so any computer would be able to access the information.

In October, Intel introduces the 80386 chip with 32-bit processing and on-chip memory management.

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