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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
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computer (Quantum Leap) Sir Clive Sinclair's first
Motorola 68008-based personal computer, developed from
around 1981 and released about 1983. The QL ran Sinclair's
QDOS operating system which was the first multitasking
OS on a home computer, though few programmers used this
feature. It had a structured, extended BASIC and a suite of
integrated application programs written by Psion. It
featured innovative "microdrives" which were random access
tape drives. It was not a success.
The microdrives were innovative but probably a mistake.
Though reliable and quite quick, they sounded like they were
going to jam and explode, releasing a shower of plastic
shavings and tape into your face.
The QL and QDOS only supported two graphics modes - ominously
named high res and low res. High res had four (fixed) colours
at a resolution of 512 by 256 pixels. Low res had 8 colours
(black, blue, red, magenta, green, cyan, yellow, white) plus a
flash mode with 256 by 256 pixels. The sound was next to
useless - single channel single oscillator with various
parameters for fuzz, pitch change. There was one internal
font, scalable to 2 heights and 3 widths.
Peripherals and enhancements included a GUI on a plug-in
ROM, accelerator cards (Motorola 68020, 4 MB RAM), floppydisks and hard disks.