posted on Oct, 7 2011 @ 01:27 PM
I agree that we ought to give credit where it is due, but that doesn't mean you get to make stuff up. This is not an example of giving credit where
it is due; it is an example of giving wrongful credit. Dr. Dean is not without credit. After all, he's in the Inventor's Hall of Fame. That
represents recognized credit. That doesn't mean you or I have ever heard of him, but people who know have, and the result is his induction into IHF.
He's also an IBM Fellow. It doesn't get much better than that. So let's not pretend Dr. Dean hasn't been awarded the credit and recognition he
deserves. He has.
I'm glad that OP has brought Dr. Dean to our attention. That's great, and as he says, we've all learned something. However, he did not invent the
PC. Further, although he is given credit for the ISA buss, it's not as if that was an original concept either--nor did the concept last very long.
ISA = "Industry Standard Architecture" A more proper name for it would be the "IBM PC Standard Architecture." To claim it was an "industry
standard" is simply not true. The first true "industry standard" buss was called the S-100, which was used in dozens of PCs PRIOR to the Apple ][.
This allowed you to attach "cards," which were small circuit boards, to those early computers. Back then you needed a "card" for everything from a
video monitor to a modem. The versatility of this approach combined with the open architecture allowed many companies to succeed in the marketplace by
making just these cards. Most of those ancient computers used CP/M as an operating system, which is an 8-bit version of what turned into MS-DOS (a
story in itself).
When the Apple came out in 1976-77 the IDEA of an "industry standard" architecture was continued, but it was an Apple version. This was still open,
but was somewhat smaller than the S-100 industry standard. As usual, Apple was developing its own standard and it was wildly successful, though ONLY
used by Apple.
It wasn't until several years later, in 1981, that IBM came out with their first PC with the clear intent to blow Apple out of the water. THAT'S
when the ISA was introduced. They did the exact same thing as Apple in that their buss was their own, just like Apple had their own, but unlike the
S-100, which was used by many manufacturers. In other words, the ISA was the THIRD major buss system introduced for PCs.
But IBM did something different. They allowed clones of their PC. So while the retail price of an IBM and the Apple ][ were very close to each other,
the IBM clones were coming in at half the price. This allowed the IBM type computers to quickly take over the marketplace from Apple, which was in
serious trouble at the time. Apple then developed the Mac and changed everything (also another story)
Next, IBM came out with a second generation machine, called the PC-XT, based on a 80286 CPU. The XT used a hybrid buss system. Much of it was the old
ISA buss, but the XT also used several slots in an extended format, called an EISA buss. These had an extra set of connections to allow more complex
cards. I believe it is in this area that Dr. Dean made his seminal contributions. This was the FOURTH "standard" buss architecture used by PCs in
The "PC" (no longer just an IBM issue) then evolved again into what I would call "specialist" cards, so you began to see special buss structures
designed for just video cards, for example. Further, peripherals that were run by these cards began to be integrated on the motherboards themselves.
For example, modems were no longer external devices, but were built in. Printer ports were no longer based on cards, but were built in.
Today most people buy a PC and never open it up. The EISA buss structure has shrunk on the motherboard, the most common use being for the video card,
which is far different today than the original ISA or EISA buss structure. In other words, the ISA/EISA structure had a limited life of about two
decades, which is actually a long time given how fast technology changes. Meanwhile the Mac series of Apple computers remains proprietary and does not
use user-accessible cards at all. It's an appliance.
The Mac is still a viable system and many people love it, but it is still not the dominant computer platform, which is still based on the original
IBM-PC. Job's influence is far more prevalent in the "i" series of products: iPod, iPhone, iPad, etc. which have gone beyond the PC-like platform.
He completely changed the music industry, completely changed the cell phone industry, and completely changed the way we, as a whole, interact with the
Dr. Dean did some great work. He has been rewarded for it, but ket us not hype it into something different than his actual contributions. He did not
"invent the PC."