I had part of the summer of 1978 to play with this computer at Stanford LOTS while I was a summer student there. This system was a pleasure to use because it had been extensively programmed to be easy to use, within the limits of a text-based CRT interface.
This machine was also unusual in using a word size that was not a power of two: 36 bits. I never did quite understand that.
DEC was an extremely successful minicomputer company, that grew into a kind of mainframe company. However, they lost their way. They got caught up in trying to play the customer lock-in game, which ultimately cost them not only key customers, but also developers of third party software and hardware. They wanted to be the sole source of all solutions for the customer.
They've just been acquired by Compaq (A PC clone manufacturer) for several billion dollars - how the mighty have fallen.
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