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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
Digital Equipment Corporation
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company (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
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.