We redesign the STE

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Re: We redesign the STE

Postby 1st1 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:55 pm

No, E-ST was not the answer, it was quite incompatible as it used to have a kind of self designed MMU for memory protection/virtualisation.
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Re: We redesign the STE

Postby Foxie » Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:11 am

calimero wrote:I always wonder if this is true: * 16MHz 68000 was not available until 1990.? * (so this kind of ST upgrade like Troed and Exxos did would not be possible before 1990.?; just like Mega STe...)


I'm not sure when the 16MHz 68000 came along, I would guess it was available in 87-88. Apple used it in 1989. But the big problem was the DRAM. I'm not even sure you could get 16MHz DRAM around that time. The Archimedes used fast page DRAM in 1987. If you ignore single-page bursts, it is the same speed as the ST's 8MHz DRAM. That kind of suggests that it wasn't really viable to go to 16MHz at all. You'd need to do what the IBM started to do - add a big cache and run the memory slow. Caches are expensive.

Apple used extremely expensive SRAM to achieve the speed. That's the price of a new car.

68020 was available since 1984, and 68030 since 1987. A 16MHz 020 running on an 8MHz bus would still be faster than a 68000 at 8MHz because of the cache. 030 even more because of the data cache. But I think a 68000+external cache would be cheaper than either of those (since they did that on the MegaSTE instead of going to a later processor).

68020 would have been nice in STE, but not really necessary. Until Doom came out, home users simply didn't care about speed at all. MegaST should have had 020 though.

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Re: We redesign the STE

Postby Atarieterno » Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:35 am

1st1 wrote:No, E-ST was not the answer, it was quite incompatible as it used to have a kind of self designed MMU for memory protection/virtualisation.


Dear 1st1;
Incompatible with what or with whom?
Any true advance could assume a certain incompatibility; Perhaps the TT or the Falcon were fully compatible with the ST series?
A machine similar to TT if it had appeared in 1987 instead of 1990, with expansion ports and a graphics card: it would have been an unstoppable revolution! There could have been born some primitive "Doom" that has influenced so much the fate of the war of computers. From 1987 to 1990 there is a century of difference, speaking technologically and in times of boiling progress.
Regards.
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Re: We redesign the STE

Postby joska » Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:55 am

calimero wrote:I really disagree: ST got great application software in late 80s and early 90s - software much better then PC counterparts!!! Just compare Signum to WordPerfect... or GEM Ventura to Calamus ;)


Yeah, but at the same time as the ST had a few good word processors, the PC had heaps of them. And while the ST had Calamus, the PC did not only have Ventura but also the biggest DTP program of them all - Pagemaker. It was very simple - even when the ST was competitive hardware-wise it only saw a fraction of the software development that the PC and the Mac did.

calimero wrote:I always wonder if this is true: * 16MHz 68000 was not available until 1990.? *


Not sure where you read that, but the 68HC000 was released in 1985 and I'm quite sure that it was available in 16Mhz or more way before 1990.
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Re: We redesign the STE

Postby calimero » Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:29 pm

joska wrote:
calimero wrote:I really disagree: ST got great application software in late 80s and early 90s - software much better then PC counterparts!!! Just compare Signum to WordPerfect... or GEM Ventura to Calamus ;)

Yeah, but at the same time as the ST had a few good word processors, the PC had heaps of them. And while the ST had Calamus, the PC did not only have Ventura but also the biggest DTP program of them all - Pagemaker. It was very simple - even when the ST was competitive hardware-wise it only saw a fraction of the software development that the PC and the Mac did.


Like I said: I prefer Signum over WordPerfect, WordStar... or any other DOS, non WYSIWYG "text processor".
I am not even sure that PC had any software capable like German Protext (not UK!) or Slovenian STeve in 80s.
These software was light ahead of anything I saw on PC back in 80s.

There are things on ST that could be done better but as far as third party software support go, I never had any objections :) - it was biggest strength of ST: diversity of usable software!

Problem was, like Wayne123 already said, that "Atari failed here because most people didn't know about it". Period. I watch this through 80s almost every day. Even today is the same: I can bet that half of users here never hear for Quantrix but everybody know for Excel.

btw @Wayne123 Federated Group was nail in coffin for Atari Corp. - they lose almost few 10 millions $ on acquisition of Federated Group which turn out to be black hole (good only on paper).

calimero wrote:I always wonder if this is true: * 16MHz 68000 was not available until 1990.? *


Not sure where you read that, but the 68HC000 was released in 1985 and I'm quite sure that it was available in 16Mhz or more way before 1990.[/quote]
Best I could find is this:

https://books.google.rs/books?id=vDAEAA ... 2F&f=false

and this:

http://www.cpu-collection.de/?l0=co&l1= ... a&l2=68000

both mention 16MHz 68000 in late 1989. so I believe that 16MHz STe before 1989. could not be possible (aside memory problem that Foxie already mention.)
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Re: We redesign the STE

Postby Wayne123 » Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:40 pm

Yes Federated Group lost a lot of money, it was a good store but a tough business, the next two companies, (Silo and Circuit City) that moved into my old Federated Groups building also went bankrupt, they were the same type of business. I understand why Atari bought them, they had trouble getting shelf space in other stores.
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Re: We redesign the STE

Postby 1st1 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:26 am

Atarieterno wrote:
1st1 wrote:No, E-ST was not the answer, it was quite incompatible as it used to have a kind of self designed MMU for memory protection/virtualisation.


Dear 1st1;
Incompatible with what or with whom?
Any true advance could assume a certain incompatibility; Perhaps the TT or the Falcon were fully compatible with the ST series?
A machine similar to TT if it had appeared in 1987 instead of 1990, with expansion ports and a graphics card: it would have been an unstoppable revolution! There could have been born some primitive "Doom" that has influenced so much the fate of the war of computers. From 1987 to 1990 there is a century of difference, speaking technologically and in times of boiling progress.
Regards.


You can read here about it and you will see that it wasn't the top notch...
- http://www.dadhacker.com/blog/?p=1383
- http://www.atarimuseum.com/computers/16bits/est/mmu.txt
It's doing a kind of memory segmentation like on 8086/88. Beyond this, the E-ST seems only having been API-compatible to ST, not hardware compatible. The main target OS for E-ST would have been a UNIX. At that time, most of the software was hardware dependend, clean GEM software was quite rare, just remember the troubles with software running on AutoSwitch-Overscan, but on E-ST even worse, memory segmentation, other video modes, ..., ... TT & Falcon are different design, more compatible to ST than this.
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Re: We redesign the STE

Postby Foxie » Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:56 am

calimero wrote:Like I said: I prefer Signum over WordPerfect, WordStar... or any other DOS, non WYSIWYG "text processor".
I am not even sure that PC had any software capable like German Protext (not UK!) or Slovenian STeve in 80s.
These software was light ahead of anything I saw on PC back in 80s.


This is really how I feel too. AFAIK Calamus was one of the most advanced DTP packages of the time, more advanced than anything on the IBM. It seemed to support certain font kerning features that still aren't implemented in Windows or OS X: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calamus_(DTP)
I've been using Libreoffice a bit, and I've really noticed how AWFUL the kerning is. Characters are just constantly running into each other.
On the IBM... what's kerning? The IBM almost always used a fixed grid of 80x25 blocky fonts.

In practice, I feel the IBM was absolutely crippled by its lack of mouse and lack of a GUI. Text-only software is extremely limited. You could use an Atari word processor today easily. It would feel similar to a modern package. But could you use DOS versions of Wordperfect today? No way! Basically the IBM was a $6000 typewriter, if that.

It doesn't really matter how many software packages the IBM had. They all stank really. Businesses were just kidding themselves when they bought into the IBM hype.

calimero wrote:both mention 16MHz 68000 in late 1989


That could be about right. Interestingly the 68020 was available at faster speeds quite early, probably before the 68000. Of course it has an instruction cache to take advantage of that Also a shorter memory cycle.

I think I remember reading in the Atari ST Internals book that the 68000 was rated up to 12MHz even back then. But I imagine very few systems used one that fast because of the DRAM.

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Re: We redesign the STE

Postby Wayne123 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:35 am

I used to use Publishing Partner and later Pagestream from Softlogik for DTP, I remember having to tell the print shop that the files I want printed were made on a PC, I told them the disk was from an Atari ST once and they refused to even try and print from my disk.

I remember buying a used Canon PJ-1080A color printer from a guy who had a PC, he was showing off his PC with 4 color graphics, none of them looked good, I asked him "what the hell is wrong with your monitor?" and also telling him "wow that looks like crap", he thought it looked good.

Most PC computers were still using Amber or Green monitors when I bought my ST, buying an St and later a Magic Sac or Spectre GCR would have allowed you to run tons of good software back then. The problem was trying to convince people that Dos and Apple II computers were not only more expensive but also not as good.

I believe I mentioned this before, my brother built a hardware interface for an Atari ST and then wrote CNC control software for a Mill he added stepper motors to. They used that Mill to machine aluminum cases for an enduro racing computer my brothers designed and built.
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Re: We redesign the STE

Postby metalages » Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:30 am

I think machines sell when they have killer applications.
That was the case for consoles. For home computer you need killer applications in every domains.
Like someone said, before people were expecting do to everythng they need with their home computer.

But killer applications are also related to hardware, in particular by that time.

On ST we had Cubase because of Midi, Calamus because of SLM 804... they were killer apps but for specialized domains.
Some musicians still use ST today from time to time...
On Amiga video software and games.
PCs had hard drives, extension bus, extensive compatibility...

Back on the STe...

Back in 85 GEM was a kind of killer app by that time. Delivering TOS on ROM was a good thing because it is fast to boot and does not waste RAM but it is also a strong weakness in terms of upgrade. I suppose EPROM were expensive by that day. Maybe having the ROM on a plug or cartridge easy to change from time to time with a reasonable cost would have been better.

Having the STe earlier (86 / 87 ?)
No 512 kb STe (like we had in France) => would have given more apps designed for 1Mb

Else without big changes i would vote for a clever GLUE / shifter for programmable borders => overscan.
Having a bresenham engine into the blitter would have also been usefull for various things.

Some hardware sprites like on most machines of the 80's would have been great too.

A non plannar 256 colors mode would have been perfect but I suppose RAM from this era did not support this kind of bandwidth.

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Re: We redesign the STE

Postby 1st1 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:46 am

Foxie wrote:
calimero wrote:This is really how I feel too. AFAIK Calamus was one of the most advanced DTP packages of the time, more advanced than anything on the IBM. It seemed to support certain font kerning features that still aren't implemented in Windows or OS X: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calamus_(DTP)


Yes, true, it's scaling and kerning functionality was even more advanced than Pagemaker, Ventura Publihser (by the way, in the beginning this was running on it's own tuned version of GEM!), QuarkXPress, . But due to some personal decicions Calamus is very unknown today. At least I know two decisions which went wrong.
1. One day, in Walluf (a little town near Wiesbaden, Germany) at DMC's door some business guys knocked on the door and went in and had a nice talk with DMC. The result of that meeting was not successfull. These guys asked to port Calamus to another 68000 based platform which later transformed to PPC and is now on x86-64 and soon probably on ARM. Yes, these busyness guys traveled from Cuppertino to little rhine river border town Walluf. Now since 2003 there is iCalamus for Mac, native, but totally incompatible for Calamus SL documents but it's very quiet about it.
2. DMC itself made a native Windows version of Calamus, Calamus 95 for Windows NT and 95. But then this line was discontinued, instead they renewed the Atari version to Calamus 96. Today Calamus 2015 runs inside a seamless Atari emulation in Windows and on Magic on Apple. There is nomore native Windows version. That has a lot of disadvantages for usability, like no copy&paste between real Windows apps and Calamus, separate font management, tortuous file format import and export and so on.

calamus95.jpg
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Re: We redesign the STE

Postby 1st1 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:34 am

Foxie wrote:
calimero wrote:In practice, I feel the IBM was absolutely crippled by its lack of mouse and lack of a GUI. Text-only software is extremely limited. You could use an Atari word processor today easily. It would feel similar to a modern package. But could you use DOS versions of Wordperfect today? No way! Basically the IBM was a $6000 typewriter, if that.


True, but there was also 1ST-Word+ for x86 GEM. It was very similar to the ST version, even documents are swapable between them. With Windows 3.x there was alreay Win-Word, Wordperfect and Star-Texter wich became later the Writer app of the Star-/Open-Libre-Office suite. With them you also still can work similar to modern word processors. But yes, mostg dos based wordprocessors have usability like hell, like VI and Emacs...

But it was possible to create easy to use text display based wordprocessors at these times. The trick was to hide them with an electronic typewriter, so any secretary accepted it more easy as a PC. As they have special keyboard layout for all wordprocessing tasks they are easy to use, not necessary to know too much CONTROL/ALT keyboard tricks. But they mostly cost more than USD 6000...

etv300-4.jpg


11_DSC_5007.jpg

See it here in action https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfVy4waAc08

a6.jpg


etv2700.jpg

See it here in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tS7ojOQQekY

etv2900-1.jpg


DSC_5893.jpg




But finally they also went to graphical gui before that kind of product died...

etv4000s-3.jpg


They are all in my computer collection. I also have Olivetti Editor 100 (1991, successor of CWP 1 with software similar to ETV 2700) and ETV 210s (1988) of the same series. The ETV series was very successfull specially in the banking sector of the 1980's and early 90's, except for 210s which is quite rare as it is very strange (instead of CRT it is using 5 lines LCD inside a PC style keyboard and similar software like ETV 240/250).
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Re: We redesign the STE

Postby Foxie » Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:16 pm

1st1 wrote:them with an electronic typewriter, so any secretary accepted it more easy as a PC. As they have special keyboard layout for all wordprocessing tasks they are easy to use, not necessary to know too much CONTROL/ALT keyboard tricks. But they mostly cost more than USD 6000...


Interesting machines. The sort-of-similar Amstrad PCW was very popular here with small businesses as just a simple word processor. I think it ran CP/M.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amstrad_PCW

It was really quite cheap and included a printer, for £390 in 1993. That was key to its success, although it was a little bit hostile to use compared to a GUI system. It used those weird 3 inch floppies, which wasn't so good for compatibility.

According to that article, it had 20% market share of personal computers in Europe. That's massive. 60% among home users in the UK. IBM had a 33.3% share in Europe by contrast. The PCW was also more advanced than the IBM, since it had a 90 column display.

Of course it was no good for games with its monochrome display.

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Re: We redesign the STE

Postby metalages » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:55 pm

If I well remember, the french newspaper "Liberation" have used "Le redacteur" on Atari ST as word processor for a moment.

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Re: We redesign the STE

Postby 1st1 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:22 pm

The german Burda publishing company used Atari TT with Calamus and a special keyboard (I have two of them, plus driver, connected via IKBD and Midi) to layout several weekly magazines (news, womans, gossip). They just changed to other systems in year 2000 or so and so many used TTs came to the ebay market at once...
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Re: We redesign the STE

Postby calimero » Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:01 pm

Foxie wrote:In practice, I feel the IBM was absolutely crippled by its lack of mouse and lack of a GUI. Text-only software is extremely limited. You could use an Atari word processor today easily. It would feel similar to a modern package. But could you use DOS versions of Wordperfect today? No way!


What IBM did with PC was atrocity!

In lack of GUI each program set his own set of shortcuts!

"Open document" (normally Ctrl+O) in each DOS program was different:

• WordPerfect: Ctrl+F7+3.
• WordStar: Ctrl+K+O.
• Lotus 1-2-3: used / to open the menu, W for Workspace + R for Retrieve.
• Microsoft Word: used Esc to open the menu, T for Transfer + L for Load.

Apple introduce "Command" key as GUI shortcut key. e.g. Ctrl+C is Break in terminal, Command+C is Copy in GUI.
PC world would spend another half of decade lurking in dark and eventually embrace Apple shortcuts but wrongly use Ctrl as main shortcut key instead of Windows key. In process keeping ALT+F4 for closing windows while taking all other shortcuts from Mac.

Sorry for Rant. But I can not express how much evil and abomination PC bring to computer world.
All this happened because "no one get fired because of buying IBM", otherwise some other technologies would have a chance. If we were waiting for IBM and Microsoft PCs alone, then we would not have CuBase Stainberg, Emagic Notator, 3D Max, PhotoShop... for ANOTHER DECADE!
Saying that PC had better programs then Atari is pure blasphemy.

btw
I hope I will find time to make video that would show how was look like to write text on PC and how to write same text on ST.

Foxie wrote:Basically the IBM was a $6000 typewriter, if that.

I mention in few more thread:

- Xerox was one that made typewriter from computers. When Robert Bob Taylor "took" Douglas Engelbar engineers and bring them to Xerox PARC to literally make from computers machines for printing out text on paper. We still lives in Xerox (Bob Taylor) world. For more information take a look at this short video: link


@1st1
you are right regarding Atari EST - it would be much different and incompatible with ST. Maybe Atari Corp. scrap entire project because of this?
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Re: We redesign the STE

Postby Zarchos » Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:46 pm

About FPM memory to get a high memory bandwith ... the ARM and its memory controller were designed with that in mind, but could the 68000 or 68020 at the time use this feature ?
I believe not, and it is one of the reasons Acorn designed their own CPU, IIRC.
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Re: We redesign the STE

Postby darklight » Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:30 pm

calimero wrote:What IBM did with PC was atrocity!

In lack of GUI each program set his own set of shortcuts!

... but wrongly use Ctrl as main shortcut key instead of Windows key...


Windows key was only introduced in 1994, and only ubiquitous with Windows 95.

I don't think it was IBM's place to impose UI guidelines on developers.
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Re: We redesign the STE

Postby penguin » Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:48 pm

Yes, DOS word processors were horrible with their keyboard shortcuts. But many companies were highly critical of GUI and thus favored the DOS PC over the ST or Amiga. There were several companies in Germany who not only modified the ST to be more industrial ready, but also made sure to hide GEM and the Atari brand as much as possible. Other "problem" was that Atari programs were much cheaper than their PC counterparts.

Still, STs were very popular among students and there were lots of specialist software for businesses - most which are lost in time nowadays. Giving both gamers and business users a more clear and quicker upgrade path would've kept Atari alive as a computer company for a little longer.
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Re: We redesign the STE

Postby Foxie » Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:03 pm

darklight wrote:I don't think it was IBM's place to impose UI guidelines on developers.


They did try, quite late in the life of DOS. Microsoft adopted those guidelines with programs like Edit and Qbasic. There were certain F keys for pre-defined tasks, the use of shift/ctrl+insert/delete to cut/copy/paste and the use of alt to pull down menus. But it was too little too late. By then, GUIs had become the norm and Microsoft had to play catch-up with making Windows 3.1.

Bizarrely, I still hear of people using F key shortcuts in Windows today. Things like F5 for reload, F1 for help, F3 for find?

The tables seem to have turned against Apple now with keyboard shortcuts. OS X has some truly ghastly finger contortions to remember. Shift+Command+4 for a screenshot. Option+Command+Escape to relaunch Finder (a daily need, I find). Shift+Command+N for a new folder. Option+Command+S to hide the sidebar, but Shift+Command+P to hide the preview. Shift+Command+D for desktop, but Option+Command+L for downloads. Control+Shift+Tab to move to the next tab. It's utter madness! There's no consistency for the use of control shift or option whatsoever.


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