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Chapter 12



The first decade of scientific and engineering workstation development provides useful lessons for information-technology start-ups. Many of the observations presented in this chapter have been used as heuristics to develop the rules that form the "ideal" model for the Bell-Mason Diagnostic.

In the mainframe and time-shared systems of the 1970s, Teletypes and simple alphanumeric cathode-ray-tube (CRT) terminals provided the primary user inter-face. High-priced, high-performance terminals were employed for scientific and engineering applications that required the display of graphical and image information.

In the 1980s, distributed workstations interconnected via a local area network (LAN) were developed. These featured high-performance graphics combined with computation and were dedicated to a single user. This powerful tool enabled new applications in computer-aided analysis, design, engineering, and visualization that had previously been economically infeasible or impossible.

In 1981 and 1982, Apollo Computer and Sun Microsystems came out with the first low-cost and practical workstations, followed by Hewlett-Packard (HP). These machines were based on the Motorola 68000 and its successor microprocessors. During the first five years after the 68000 was introduced, over twenty-five new companies were started. Products were introduced so fast and furiously that they were nicknamed JAWS, for "just another workstation." Soon after Apollo and Sun,


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