Digital Equipment Corporation

<company, hardware> (DEC) A computer manufacturer and software vendor.

Before the killer micro revolution of the late 1980s, hackerdom was closely symbiotic with DEC's pioneering time-sharing machines. The first of the group of hacker cultures nucleated around the PDP-1 (see TMRC). Subsequently, the PDP-6, PDP-10, PDP-20, PDP-11 and VAX were all foci of large and important hackerdoms and DEC machines long dominated the ARPANET and Internet machine population.

The first PC from DEC was a CP/M computer called Rainbow, announced in 1981-82.

DEC was the technological leader of the minicomputer era (roughly 1967 to 1987), but its failure to embrace microcomputers and Unix early cost it heavily in profits and prestige after silicon got cheap. However, the microprocessor design tradition owes a heavy debt to the PDP-11 instruction set, and every one of the major general-purpose microcomputer operating systems so far (CP/M, MS-DOS, Unix, OS/2) were either genetically descended from a DEC OS, or incubated on DEC hardware or both. Accordingly, DEC is still regarded with a certain wry affection even among many hackers too young to have grown up on DEC machines. The contrast with IBM is instructive.

Quarterly sales $3923M, profits -$1746M (Aug 1994).

DEC was taken over by Compaq Computer Corporation in 1998. In 2002 Compaq was in turn acquired by Hewlett-Packard who sold off parts of Digital Equipment Corporation to Intel and absorbed the rest. The Digital logo is no longer used.

Last updated: 2012-07-29

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Nearby terms: Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications « digital envelope « Digital Equipment Computer Users Society « Digital Equipment Corporation » Digital Equipment Corporation Network » Digital European Cordless Telecommunications » Digital Express Group, Inc.


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Copyright Denis Howe 1985

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