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#234697 - 23/09/2004 17:01 Whatever happened to Acorn Computers?
ashmoore
addict

Registered: 24/08/1999
Posts: 564
Loc: TX
I suppose this question is really for the Brits of this board.
Acorn made some (at the time) really cool computers in the 80s that were standard fitment in most UK schools during that time.
I used to work for a reseller that sold these things and was talking with an old buddy recently, neither of us had any clue where Acorn went to or what happened to their designs.
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#234698 - 23/09/2004 17:10 Re: Whatever happened to Acorn Computers? [Re: ashmoore]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31064
Loc: Seattle, WA
Isn't the original Empeg logo made from a font only available for Acorn computers or something?
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Tony Fabris

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#234699 - 23/09/2004 18:10 Re: Whatever happened to Acorn Computers? [Re: ashmoore]
g_attrill
old hand

Registered: 14/04/2002
Posts: 1172
Loc: Hants, UK
I think the empeg team could probably answer this pretty accurately - IIRC Hugo has an extensive background in Acorn/Archimedes stuff.

Basically the company produced hardware and the RISC-OS operating system until the late 90's when the key education market was eaten up by PC's, despite Acorn's being massively more reliable and resiliant.

It was broken up mainly so that Acorn shareholders could recoup their investment in Arm, which was spin-off from Acorn. (Yes, they invented the Empeg's processor and I doubt this is a coincidence!).

The operating system was sold to Pace Microtech and last time I heard there was a bit of a bust-up over ownership rights. Various hardware is still being produced by third-party companies and there is still a strong niche and enthusiast market.

Gareth (owner of several BBC Micros, an A3010 and a fairly rare BBC Master Compact)

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#234700 - 23/09/2004 19:21 Re: Whatever happened to Acorn Computers? [Re: ashmoore]
mdavey
enthusiast

Registered: 06/03/2003
Posts: 269
Loc: Wellingborough, UK
They went through some difficult times in the '90s as the primary and secondary education market finally started to switch to PCs. Acorn attempted a series of strategic moves and spin-offs including licensing the Network Compter design (5-10 years too early for concept) and Online Media (still waiting for ATM to the home), their keyboardless, touch-screen laptop (10-15 years too early for concept).

They finally bet the future of the Risc-PC product familiy on project Phoebe, a next-generation Risc-PC with more generic hardware. It would appear that the project either fell behind schedule or went over budget. Senior management pulled the project and made one final strategic move - to turn Acorn Computers into a semiconductor design shop on 14th January 1999. The RiscOS intellectual property was sold to Pace Microtech.

Later Element 14 came to be known for low-power DSL chipstets, DSL software and communications technology. They were bought out by Broadcom in 2000.

Meanwhile, RiscOS Ltd was founded and were successful in licensing RiscOS from Pace for destop computers (Pace were only interested in the technology for their satellite and cable set-top boxes). There are a number of companies still making hardware that uses the RiscOS ROM chipset from RiscOS Ltd
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Ex-owner of stolen empeg #030102741

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#234701 - 24/09/2004 05:59 Re: Whatever happened to Acorn Computers? [Re: mdavey]
Shonky
pooh-bah

Registered: 12/01/2002
Posts: 1949
Loc: Brisbane, Australia
I still have my Acorn Electron somewhere (a cutdown BBC Micro based on a 6502 CPU). That was my first computer ever - I got it when I was 8 or 9 I think so that would have been about 1984.
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#40104192 120Gb (no longer in my E36 M3, won't fit the E46 M3)

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#234702 - 24/09/2004 11:12 Re: Whatever happened to Acorn Computers? [Re: ashmoore]
sn00p
addict

Registered: 24/07/2002
Posts: 600
Loc: South London
My Risc PC is on the shelf next to me and theres an A3000 in the cupboard....those were the days.

I think "microsoft happened", Acorn had the education market sewn up (in the UK), but then seemed to get sidetracked with the network computer and things just went a bit pear shaped from there.

Hugo was somewhat of an archimedes god, he wrote the tracker module player and various demos (infact, I've got the source code to some of them kicking around here!), lots of commercial software through his company "the serial port" and my personal favourite ARCterm7.

Risc OS was a great operating system, the api was hugely extensive and was the first machine that I ever programmed properly, my love of ARM processors goes way back to when ARM stood for "Acorn Risc Machine".

Pity that they're no longer around, first computer I ever used was a BBC B (Made by Acorn) at primary school.....ahhh, the memories.

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#234703 - 24/09/2004 11:20 Re: Whatever happened to Acorn Computers? [Re: sn00p]
mdavey
enthusiast

Registered: 06/03/2003
Posts: 269
Loc: Wellingborough, UK
Quote:

I think "microsoft happened", Acorn had the education market sewn up (in the UK), but then seemed to get sidetracked with the network computer and things just went a bit pear shaped from there.



Oh, yea there was that Xemplar strategic alliance with Apple, too, wasn't there?
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Ex-owner of stolen empeg #030102741

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#234704 - 24/09/2004 13:42 Re: Whatever happened to Acorn Computers? [Re: sn00p]
g_attrill
old hand

Registered: 14/04/2002
Posts: 1172
Loc: Hants, UK
Quote:
first computer I ever used was a BBC B (Made by Acorn) at primary school.....ahhh, the memories.

Same here, we used to have loads of bring a buy sales and then end up with a dowdy looking BBC Micro and Cub monitor.

The only machine I would still like is a Domesday BBC Master with the laserdisc player. There was one on ebay a while back but it didn't have the essential discs and went for 750.

The free Red Squirrel emulator is pretty good for reminiscing:
http://www.red-squirrel.org/

Gareth

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#234705 - 24/09/2004 14:37 Re: Whatever happened to Acorn Computers? [Re: g_attrill]
ashmoore
addict

Registered: 24/08/1999
Posts: 564
Loc: TX
ah yes! The Domesday Project was so far ahead of its time it was scary.
I loved that machine.
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#234706 - 24/09/2004 14:42 Re: Whatever happened to Acorn Computers? [Re: sn00p]
ashmoore
addict

Registered: 24/08/1999
Posts: 564
Loc: TX
You should pull out your A3000 just to run Zarch on it
I will have to get a beeb just so I can play Revs on it again.


Edited by ashmoore (24/09/2004 14:45)

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#234707 - 24/09/2004 14:47 Re: Whatever happened to Acorn Computers? [Re: ashmoore]
sn00p
addict

Registered: 24/07/2002
Posts: 600
Loc: South London
Quote:
You should pull out your A3000 just to run Zarch on it


As I was writing my reply I started thinking about zarch, chocks away, nevyron and of course the finest of any port, elite.

Also Repton on the BBC and the fantastic exile.

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#234708 - 24/09/2004 16:10 Re: Whatever happened to Acorn Computers? [Re: sn00p]
ashmoore
addict

Registered: 24/08/1999
Posts: 564
Loc: TX
How about this.....
Zarch for Linux!!
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#234709 - 24/09/2004 16:33 Re: Whatever happened to Acorn Computers? [Re: Shonky]
schofiel
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/06/1999
Posts: 2992
Loc: Wareham, Dorset, UK
There's the Acorn Atom too - the Electron was the self-build kit, the Atom was turned into the BBC B.
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#234710 - 24/09/2004 16:38 Re: Whatever happened to Acorn Computers? [Re: schofiel]
sn00p
addict

Registered: 24/07/2002
Posts: 600
Loc: South London
Quote:
There's the Acorn Atom too - the Electron was the self-build kit, the Atom was turned into the BBC B.


I think it's the other way round.

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#234711 - 24/09/2004 16:47 Re: Whatever happened to Acorn Computers? [Re: schofiel]
andym
carpal tunnel

Registered: 17/01/2002
Posts: 3978
Loc: Manchester UK
My affair with Acorn spans many years:

Electron 1985 Aged 6
A3000 1989 Aged 10
A5000 1993 Aged 14
RISC PC 1995 Aged 16

The RISC PC still sits on the desk in my study. In fact, since I bought a network card for it on ebay it's suddenly had a new lease of life. Sadly the web browser is a little antique for most sites.

Anyone got a StrongARM card and RISC OS 4 ROMS they want to sell?
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Andy M

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#234712 - 24/09/2004 16:51 Re: Whatever happened to Acorn Computers? [Re: andym]
sn00p
addict

Registered: 24/07/2002
Posts: 600
Loc: South London
Quote:
My affair with Acorn spans many years:

Electron 1985 Aged 6
A3000 1989 Aged 10
A5000 1993 Aged 14
RISC PC 1995 Aged 16



I remember coming back after school holidays to find that arthur had disappeared and had been replaced with something new and mystical.

I forgot about my electron, that sits in the cupboard too I think, although I may have thrown it out in a tidying spree last year - couldn't part with the 32 bitters though.

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#234713 - 24/09/2004 16:55 Re: Whatever happened to Acorn Computers? [Re: sn00p]
andym
carpal tunnel

Registered: 17/01/2002
Posts: 3978
Loc: Manchester UK
I liked arthur, it was the first wimp os I ever used. However RISC OS did crap on it from a great height.
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Andy M

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#234714 - 24/09/2004 19:28 Re: Whatever happened to Acorn Computers? [Re: sn00p]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
Quote:
Acorn had the education market sewn up (in the UK)

In the US, Apple seemed to mostly have the education market sewn up when I was a kid. That started fading around, I don't know, 1985 or so, and were gone by the time they stopped making the ][ series (1988 was the last time they introduced a new model). I think that this had to do with both the rise of Microsoft and the fact that Macs were so incredibly expensive, so that schools couldn't afford to stick with Apple.
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#234715 - 24/09/2004 21:17 Re: Whatever happened to Acorn Computers? [Re: sn00p]
Shonky
pooh-bah

Registered: 12/01/2002
Posts: 1949
Loc: Brisbane, Australia
Quote:
Quote:
There's the Acorn Atom too - the Electron was the self-build kit, the Atom was turned into the BBC B.


I think it's the other way round.


Yes the Electron was definitely not self-build. And the Atom was available pre-built or in kit form.

The Atom was the forerunner to the BBC Micro, whereas the Electron came after the BBC Micro (I think after the Model B) and was essentially a cut down version.
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Christian
#40104192 120Gb (no longer in my E36 M3, won't fit the E46 M3)

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#345620 - 09/06/2011 08:49 Re: Whatever happened to Acorn Computers? [Re: ashmoore]
sn00p
addict

Registered: 24/07/2002
Posts: 600
Loc: South London

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