The Null Device

Posts matching tags 'ibm'


Today in Extreme JavaScript: An original IBM PC, simulated in the browser. It has a CGA adapter and two simulated floppy drives, into which one can load a number of pre-supplied images, including several versions of MS-DOS PC-DOS, as well as VisiCalc and Microsoft Adventure. Not only that, but, if left to its own devices, it will run an order of magnitude faster than an original IBM-PC.

Anyway, the simulation is fully functional on all modern browsers (that I've tested). It's booting the original IBM PC Model 5150 ROM BIOS (no modifications), and it's loading the original MDA/CGA fonts. This configuration gives you more control, allowing you to toggle any of the SW1/SW2 settings to change the memory configuration, the installed video card (MDA or CGA), and the number of diskette drives. There's also a built-in debugger with lots of DEBUG-like commands, only better. And you can create your own configuration by tweaking the underlying XML file. I'll eventually do a write-up explaining how to embed it on your own web page and what options are available. The process is very similar to embedding the C1Pjs simulation that I wrote earlier this year--the XML is just a little different.
The author, a chap named @jeffpar, is now looking to add more features to his emulator, bumping up the display to EGA graphics, upgrading the CPU to a 286 and adding a serial mouse.

This is not the first PC emulator to be written in JavaScript; some two years ago, a chap named Fabrice Bellard wrote a JavaScript-based PC emulator capable of booting Linux on a JavaScript-emulated Pentium box. Bellard's emulator, though more powerful than a 1981 IBM PC, was purely text-based.

Also on doing cool things with JavaScript: Stuart Memo (who was in the 1990s Glaswegian punk/electropop band Bis) is now writing music tools in JavaScript, using the Web Audio API. He has a few demos here, and recently gave a talk at JSConf in Berlin titled JavaScript is the new Punk Rock, where he envisioned an open browser-based music-making platform.

awesome bis ibm javascript ms-dos music pc retrocomputing 0


IBM have turned over 500 software patents to the open-source community. IBM will continue to hold the patents, though have pledged not to assert them against software distributed under an OSI-approved open-source licence. (It's legally binding, too, so there's no possibility of a change of guard at IBM reneging on it.) They have, however, reserved the right to assert them against anyone suing open-source projects for patent infringement; i.e., those who don't get with the programme may find themselves out on a limb.

"The 500 patents include U.S. Patent number 5,185,861, registered in 1993, which covers technology that helps microprocessors use their memory caches efficiently; and U.S. patent number 5,617,568, registered in 1997, for allowing non-Windows based systems to act as file servers for Windows-based clients, according to IBM Asia Pacific spokeswoman June Namioka. Other examples include patents related to handwriting recognition, she said."
"There's little argument that over the past dozen years, the world has come to view things differently: free software is one aspect of this; globalization of trade is another; both have been profoundly influenced by access to the Internet and the Web, and the easy access to information they provide. Knowledge is, indeed, power. As the models change, people who are stuck in the older mode, like Gates . . . look increasingly like Pope Urban VIII and rms looks more like Galileo: despite 'common knowledge' the world was moving. IBM's freeing-up of patents is another step toward proliferating knowledge."
Which is a good start; perhaps a neo-Galambosian world where all concepts are privatised and monetised isn't inevitable after all. Mind you, we're not out of the woods yet. The existence of software patents (in the US and Australia, at least; the EU has so far managed to escape this fate) still creates a minefield which threatens to take down anyone without an extensive patent portfolio of their own, cross-licensing agreements and a hefty legal department, and threatens to establish an oligopoly on software development and invention. Though, hopefully, the establishment of a "patent commons" of valuable patents, free to use for open-source projects but defensively assertable against those threatening such development, may act as a deterrent.

ibm open-source patents 1


Always wanted one of those heavy, clicky IBM PC keyboards (as opposed to the mushy $5 wonders you can pick up anywhere these days)? These people make new keyboards to that spec. They're expensive, though they'll probably last for ages. They don't make those newfangled USB keyboards though. (I wouldn't mind one myself, to replace my 101-key Honeywell Litetouch, about a dozen of whose key caps have been worn to unreadability.) (via a comment in jwz's gerbil post about that all-X keyboard on Ebay)

gadgets ibm keyboards tech 3

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