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Tech history in photos: Heroes of the PC revolution

Jack Tramiel of Commodore

As the concept of personal computing hit its stride, the PC became one of humanity's most important tools ever created. Here are some of the pioneers who helped usher in the PC era.

Jack Tramiel (left) and Michael Tomczyk of Commodore International. Commodore was founded in the 1950s in Toronto, Ontario, and the Commodore PET (Personal Electronic Transactor) was one of the top selling early personal computers.

Image: Michael Tomczyk

About

Conner Forrest is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. He covers Google and startups and is passionate about the convergence of technology and culture.

17 comments
Philogos
Philogos

While not wishing to be unkind about the achievements of Sir Clive Sinclair, I think that if you are going to offer just one slot to a UK hero then you'd be better going for Hermann Hauser and Chris Curry. Sir Clive can be viewed as a flash in the pan - yes, he sold a lot of computers in the early eighties but they weren't particularly innovative and they were more or less a dead end except for games. Acorn computer on the other hand, originated the BBC micro that educated a generation of UK computer geeks and the ARM processor we all know and love.

clarelove
clarelove

I've still got my Don Lancaster RTL/DTL/TTL/CMOS cookbooks.

Phil.Russ
Phil.Russ

Thanks for the pictures.  The history side would be enhanced by including dates for release or invention of products, as you did for Apple II.  As is, it's sort of a cloud.

CapJTKirk67
CapJTKirk67

Thanks for the article Conner.  It was nice to see that you included Jack Tramiel & Commodore in the list.  So many times Commodore is forgotten when these types of "computer history" articles are written.  And lets not forget Chuck Peddle and the 6502 team at MOS Technology.  After all, they did create the CPU that a lot of "personal computer pioneers" used to create their own systems with.  And Chuck helped a few of them along with their designs even though he rarely gets mention or credit for his contributions.

gdm40
gdm40

Although a few notable faces are in the article quite a few other notables are missing, an incomplete history is simply personal opinion. Notables off the top of my head not listed whether you like them or not.

AMD

IBM

Gates

Torvalds

All of the above had as much if not more to do with the modern computing landscape meanwhile Gates is rolling around in his grave "god forbid you ever called a Mac a PC ".

 

gallen6
gallen6

Thank you for sharing these photos.

jaimerubio
jaimerubio

You have forgotten the real PC IBM inventors?? Who do you hate more IBM or MICROSOFT?

jaimerubio
jaimerubio

You ahve forgatten the real PC IBM inventors?? Who do you hate more IBM or MICROSOFT?

ejespino1127
ejespino1127

Please don't forget the PC software pioneers (Visical, dBase, CP/M, TRS-DOS, WordStar, etc)


Could you do a tribute to them?

kashdoller
kashdoller


@mrdelurk " all of them couldn't make a d@mn one that works?""

Are you completely dense or just making a joke? Why did you put an @ sign in place of the "a" in damn? This isn't cryptography class, kay?

 

I'm not sure what planet you just dropped down from, but the modern PC or "computer" if you will (since we should include MAC's and others) is an amazing breakthru.  The fact that pretty much anyone can have at least a used one in their home for almost nothing is miraculous.  How do they not "work" please enlighten me?  Maybe I think you are perhaps mistaking PC for Windows?

That would be silly but I really do think you are under the assumption that PC=Windows? haha. So let me be perfectly clear.

PC ≠ Windows

 

In fact if you have a PC and you are running Windows, you're a fool.  Or at least that's my opinion.

 

 

 

Treknology
Treknology

There are some worthy mentions here but, I don't think "video games that had keyboards on them" really qualify for the list. That was marketing, not ingenuity.

mrdelurk
mrdelurk

Isn't it a bit premature to talk about "heroes" in regards to a product that is still quite awful? One would never tolerate a car or a TV to exhibit the reliability issues or loose ends PCs are known for.


Maybe I'm just spoiled and shouldn't be shouting "20 million people build PCs since 40 years and all of them couldn't make a d@mn one that works?" every time mine has an OS crash. If that's the case, never mind, I didn't say a word. Celebrate on.

jeff
jeff

Interesting but woefully incomplete!


No Gary Kildall? No Bill Gates and Paul Allen? Lee Felsenstein? Bob Metcalfe? Alan Shugart? Bricklin and Frankston? No mention of the early computer magazine publishers such as Wayne Green?


All Heroes of the Revolution in my opinion.

dogknees
dogknees

As the concept of personal computing hit its stride, the PC took became one of humanity's most important tools ever created."


What? "the PC took become"?

BWBoaz
BWBoaz

@gdm40 Gates isn't dead yet.  He can roll around on the floor I suppose.  :-)

lvr181
lvr181

@kashdoller  Oh.................so the majority of computer users are fools? And you're not?