The Atari TT030 is a member of the Atari ST family, released in 1990. It was intended to be a high-end Unix workstation, however Atari took two years to release a port of Unix SVR4 for the TT, which prevented the TT from being considered in its intended market. In 1992, the TT was replaced by the Atari Falcon, a low-cost consumer-oriented machine with improved graphics and sound capability, but with a slower and bottle-necked CPU; the Falcon possessed only a fraction of the TT's raw CPU performance. Though well priced for a workstation machine, the TT's high cost kept it out of reach of the existing Atari ST market until after the TT was discontinued and sold at discount; the nascent open source movement filled the void. Thanks to open hardware documentation, the Atari TT, along with the Amiga and Atari Falcon, were the first non-Intel machines to have Linux ported to them, though this work did not stabilize until after the TT had been discontinued by Atari. By 1995 NetBSD had been ported to the Atari TT.
Atari Corporation realized that to remain competitive as a computer manufacturer, they needed to begin taking steps to exploit the power offered by more advanced processors in the Motorola 68000 series. At that time, the highest performance member was the 68020, it was the first true "thirty-two bit bus/thirty-two bit instruction" chip from Motorola. Unlike the 68000 used in the original STs, the 68020 was capable of fetching a 32-bit value in one memory cycle, while the older STs took two; the TT was designed around the 68020 CPU, however as the project progressed, Atari Corp. realized that the 68020 was not the best option for the TT. The 68020 still lacked certain important features offered by the next successor in the 68000 line, the new 68030; the new 68030 featured internal registers. When the decision was made to switch from a 68020 to a 68030 CPU, it presented a whole new set of problems; the original specifications for the TT's clock speed was 16 MHz, selected to maintain backward compatibility.
The existing ST chips used in the TT could not handle anything over 16 MHz. Some software had problems running at faster speeds. To make the system work with a 32 MHz 68030, Atari Corp. had to scale back their plans somewhat, add a large amount of cache to the system. As a result, the processor runs at 32 MHz; this is similar to the tactic employed by Apple with the ill-fated Macintosh IIvx and employed by makers of PCs with an Intel 80486DX2 CPU which ran at double that of the system bus speed. TOS 3.01 was the operating system that came with the Atari TT. It was a 512 kB ROM designed for the TT. However, it did not feature pre-emptive multitasking. Another variant, known as TT/X, used Unix System V R4 and WISH; the TT030 was first introduced at CeBIT in Hannover and launched in 1990. It retailed for $2995 with a 50 MB hard drive; the US release came the following year. In 1993, Atari Corp.'s exit from the computer business marked the end of the TT. A number of TT machines were built as developer systems for Jaguar.
The TT featured a number of devices, unavailable for Atari Corp. systems. For example, an AppleTalk network port, VME expansion bus, new VGA video graphics modes, a true SCSI port. Existing ST features such as MIDI ports, a cartridge port, the ASCI/DMA port were retained in this system. One device, left out was the BLiTTER graphics chip, which first appeared in the Atari Mega ST systems four to five years earlier. Using the existing 8mhz chip would have only served to bottleneck the TT's performance. To be useful, a new 32mhz blitter chip would have had to have been designed for the TT, however Atari chose not to do so. An Atari Corp. version of Unix System V was not released until mid-1992. By the end of that year, Atari Corp. dropped all Unix development. A special version of the TT, the TT/X, was supplied with UNIX System V R4 and WISH, as well as a collection of free software utilities including GCC. In the boot screen for "Atari System V", as the manual called it, the operating system's kernel identified itself as "UniSoft UNIX System V Release 4.0.
All TTs were made up of both custom and commercial chips: Custom chips TT Shifter "TT Video shift register chip" — Enabled bitmap graphics. Featured a 64-bit wide bus with interleaved access to system memory and on-chip buffers for high bandwidths. Contiguous 32 KB memory for ST modes, 154 KB for TT modes. TT GLU "Generalized Logic Unit" — Control logic for the system used to connect the STs chips. Not part of the data needed to bridge chips with each other. Used in TT and MEGA STE. DMA "Direct Memory Access" — Three independent channels, one for floppy and hard drive data transfers, one for the SCSI port and one for 85C30 SCC network port. Direct access to system memory in the ST. 2 chips used. MCU "Memory Control Unit" — For system RAM. Support chips MC6850P ACIA "Asynchronous Common Interface Adapter" — Enabled the ST to directly communicate with MIDI devices and keyboard. 31.25 kilobaud for 7812.5 bit/s for keyboard. MC68901 MFP "Multi Function Peripheral" -- Used as timers and RS232C ports. NCR 5380 "SCSI Controller" — 8-bit asynchronous transfers up to 4 MB/s.
WD-1772-PH "Western Digital Floppy Disk Controller" — Floppy controller chip. Zilog 85C30 SCC "Zilog Ser
Graphics Environment Manager
GEM was an operating environment created by Digital Research for use with the DOS operating system on Intel 8088 and Motorola 68000 microprocessors. GEM is known as the graphical user interface for the Atari ST series of computers, was supplied with a series of IBM PC-compatible computers from Amstrad, it was available for the standard IBM PC, at a time when the 6 MHz IBM PC AT was brand new. It was the core for a small number of DOS programs, it was ported to a number of other computers that lacked graphical interfaces, but never gained popularity on those platforms. DRI produced X/GEM for their FlexOS real-time operating system with adaptations for OS/2 Presentation Manager and the X Window System under preparation as well. GEM started life at DRI as a more general-purpose graphics library known as GSX, written by a team led by Don Heiskell. Lee Lorenzen who had left Xerox PARC wrote much of the code. GSX was a DRI-specific implementation of the GKS graphics standard proposed in the late 1970s.
GSX was intended to allow DRI to write graphics programs for any of the platforms CP/M-80, CP/M-86 and MS-DOS would run on, a task that would otherwise require considerable effort to port due to the large differences in graphics hardware between the various systems of that era. GSX consisted of two parts: a selection of routines for common drawing operations, the device drivers that are responsible for handling the actual output; the former was known as GDOS and the latter as GIOS, a play on the division of CP/M into machine-independent BDOS and machine-specific BIOS. GDOS was a selection of routines that handled the GKS drawing, while GIOS used the underlying hardware to produce the output. DDFXLR7 Epson and Epson-compatible printers DDFXLR8 Epson lo-res, 8-bit DDFXHR8 Epson hi-res, 8-bit DD-DMP1 Amstrad DMP1 printer DDSHINWA Printers using Shinwa Industries mechanism DDHP7470 DD7470 Hewlett Packard HP 7470 and compatible pen plotters, HP-GL/2 DDMODE0 Amstrad CPC screen in mode 0 DDMODE1 Amstrad CPC screen in mode 1 DDMODE2 Amstrad CPC screen in mode 2 DDSCREEN Amstrad PCW screen DD7220 Hewlett Packard HP 7220, HP-GL DDGDC DDNCRDMV NEC µPD7220 DDGEN2 Retro-Graphics GEN.
II DDHI3M Houston Instrument HiPlot DMP DDHI7M Houston Instrument HiPlot DMP DDMX80 Epson MX-80 + Graftrax Plus DDVRET VT100 + Retro-Graphics GEN. II DDQX10 QX-10 screen DDCITOH C. Itoh 8510A DDESP Electric Studio Light Pen DDOKI84 Oki Data Microline DDBBC0 BBC Micro screen in mode 0 DDBBC1 BBC Micro screen in mode 1 DDCITOLR C. Itoh 8510A lo-res DDTS803 TeleVideo screen DDANADXM Anadex DP-9501 and DP-9001A DDCITOLR C. Itoh 8510A lo-res DDCNTXM Centronics 351, 352 and 353 DDDS180 Datasouth DDIDSM IDS Monochrome DDLA100 DEC DDLA50 DEC DDOKI84 Oki Data Microline DDPMVP Printronix MVP DD3EPSNL IBM/Epson FX-80 lo-res Printer, see DDFXLR7 and DDFXLR8 DD3EPSNH IBM/Epson FX-80 hi-res Printer, see DDFXHR8 DD75XHM1 Regnecentralen RC759 Piccoline DDNECAPC NEC APC DDGSXM Metafile NCRPC4 NCR DecisionMate V IBMBLMP2 IBMBLMP3 IBM CGA monochrome mode IBMBLCP2 IBMBLCP3 IBM CGA color mode IBMHP743 Hewlett-Packard 7470A/7475A Plotter, see DDHP7470 and DD7470 HERMONP2 IBMHERP3 Hercules monochrome graphics PALETTE Polaroid cameraThe same driver binary may operate under both CP/M-86 and DOS.
GSX evolved into one part of what would be known as GEM, an effort to build a GUI system using the earlier GSX work as its basis. Known as Crystal as a play on an IBM project called Glass, the name was changed to GEM. Under GEM, GSX became GEM VDI, responsible for basic graphics and drawing. VDI added the ability to work with multiple fonts and added a selection of raster drawing commands to the vector-only GKS-based drawing commands. VDI added multiple viewports, a key addition for use with windows. A new module, GEM AES, provided the window management and UI elements, GEM Desktop used both libraries in combination to provide a GUI; the 8086 version of the entire system was first demoed at the 1984 COMDEX, shipped as GEM/1 on 28 February 1985. GEM Desktop 1.0 was released on 28 February 1985. GEM Desktop 1.1 was released in 1985, with support for CGA and EGA displays. A version for the Apricot Computers F-Series, supporting 640×200 in up to 8 colors was available as GEM Desktop 1.2. DRI designed GEM for DOS so that it would check for and only run on IBM computers, not PC compatibles like those from Compaq, as the company hoped to receive license fees from compatible makers.
Developers reacted with what BYTE described as "a small explosion". That month the company removed the restriction. Applications that supported GEM included Lifetree Software's GEM Write. At this point, Apple Computer sued DRI in what would turn into a long dispute over the "look and feel" of the GEM/1 system, an direct copy of Macintosh; this led to DRI being forced to change several basic features of the system. Apple would go on to sue other companies for similar issues, including their copyright lawsuit against Micro
The Atari ST is a line of home computers from Atari Corporation and the successor to the Atari 8-bit family. The initial ST model, the 520ST, saw limited release in April–June 1985 and was available in July; the Atari ST is the first personal computer to come with a bitmapped color GUI, using a version of Digital Research's GEM released in February 1985. The 1040ST, released in 1986, is the first personal computer to ship with a megabyte of RAM in the base configuration and the first with a cost-per-kilobyte of less than US$1; the Atari ST is part of a mid-1980s generation of home computers that have 16 or 32-bit processors, 256 KB or more of RAM, mouse-controlled graphical user interfaces. This generation includes the Macintosh, Commodore Amiga, Apple IIGS, and, in certain markets, the Acorn Archimedes. "ST" stands for "Sixteen/Thirty-two", which refers to the Motorola 68000's 16-bit external bus and 32-bit internals. The ST was sold with the less expensive monochrome monitor; the system's two color graphics modes are only available on the former while the highest-resolution mode needs the monochrome monitor.
In some markets Germany, the machine gained a strong foothold as a small business machine for CAD and desktop publishing work. Thanks to its built-in MIDI ports, the ST enjoyed success for running music-sequencer software and as a controller of musical instruments among amateurs and well-known musicians alike; the ST was superseded by the Atari STE, Atari TT, Atari MEGA STE, Falcon computers. The Atari ST was born from the rivalry between home-computer makers Atari, Inc. and Commodore International. Jay Miner, one of the original designers for the custom chips found in the Atari 2600 and Atari 8-bit family, tried to convince Atari management to create a new chipset for a video game console and computer; when his idea was rejected, Miner left Atari to form a small think tank called Hi-Toro in 1982 and began designing the new "Lorraine" chipset. The company, renamed Amiga Corporation, was pretending to sell video game controllers to deceive competition while it developed a Lorraine-based computer.
Amiga ran out of capital to complete Lorraine's development, Atari, owned by Warner Communications, paid Amiga to continue development work. In return Atari received exclusive use of the Lorraine design for one year as a video game console. After one year Atari would have the right to add a keyboard and market the complete computer, designated the 1850XLD; as Atari was involved with Disney at the time, it was code-named "Mickey", the 256K memory expansion board was codenamed "Minnie". After leaving Commodore International in January 1984, Jack Tramiel formed Tramel Technology with his sons and other ex-Commodore employees and, in April, began planning a new computer; the company considered the National Semiconductor NS320xx microprocessor but was disappointed with its performance. This started the move to the 68000; the lead designer of the Atari ST was ex-Commodore employee Shiraz Shivji, who had worked on the Commodore 64's development. Atari in mid-1984 was losing about a million dollars per day.
Interested in Atari's overseas manufacturing and worldwide distribution network for his new computer, Tramiel negotiated with Warner in May and June 1984. He bought Atari's Consumer Division in July; as executives and engineers left Commodore to join Tramiel's new Atari Corporation, Commodore responded by filing lawsuits against four former engineers for theft of trade secrets. The Tramiels did not purchase the employee contracts when they bought the assets of Atari Inc. so one of their first acts was to interview Atari Inc. employees to decide whom to hire at what was a brand new company. This company was called TTL renamed to Atari Corp. At the time of the purchase of Atari Inc's assets, there were 900 employees remaining from a high point of 10,000. After the interviews 100 employees were hired to work at Atari Corp. At one point a custom sound processor called AMY was a planned component for the new ST computer design, but the chip needed more time to complete, so AMY was dropped in favor of an off-the-shelf Yamaha sound chip.
It was during this time in late July/early August that Leonard Tramiel discovered the original Amiga contract, which required Amiga Corporation to deliver the Lorraine chipset to Atari on June 30, 1984. Amiga Corp. had sought more monetary support from investors in spring 1984. Having heard rumors that Tramiel was negotiating to buy Atari, Amiga Corp. entered into discussions with Commodore. The discussions led to Commodore wanting to purchase Amiga Corporation outright, which Commodore believed would cancel any outstanding contracts, including Atari's. Instead of Amiga Corp. delivering Lorraine to Atari, Commodore delivered a check of $500,000 to Atari on Amiga's behalf, in effect returning the funds Atari invested into Amiga for the chipset. Tramiel countersued Amiga Corp. on August 13, 1984. He sought an injunction to bar Amiga from producing anything with its technology. At Commodore, the Amiga team was in limbo during the summer of 1984 because of the lawsuit. No word on the status of the chipset, the Lorraine computer, or the team's fate was known.
In the fall of 1984, Commodore informed the team that the Lorraine project was active again, the chipset was to be improved, the operating system developed, the hardware design completed. While Commodore announced the Amiga 1000 with the Lorraine chipset in July 1985, the delay gave Atari, with its ma
Computer programming is the process of designing and building an executable computer program for accomplishing a specific computing task. Programming involves tasks such as: analysis, generating algorithms, profiling algorithms' accuracy and resource consumption, the implementation of algorithms in a chosen programming language; the source code of a program is written in one or more languages that are intelligible to programmers, rather than machine code, directly executed by the central processing unit. The purpose of programming is to find a sequence of instructions that will automate the performance of a task on a computer for solving a given problem; the process of programming thus requires expertise in several different subjects, including knowledge of the application domain, specialized algorithms, formal logic. Tasks accompanying and related to programming include: testing, source code maintenance, implementation of build systems, management of derived artifacts, such as the machine code of computer programs.
These might be considered part of the programming process, but the term software development is used for this larger process with the term programming, implementation, or coding reserved for the actual writing of code. Software engineering combines engineering techniques with software development practices. Reverse engineering is the opposite process. A hacker is any skilled computer expert that uses their technical knowledge to overcome a problem, but it can mean a security hacker in common language. Programmable devices have existed at least as far back as 1206 AD, when the automata of Al-Jazari were programmable, via pegs and cams, to play various rhythms and drum patterns. However, the first computer program is dated to 1843, when mathematician Ada Lovelace published an algorithm to calculate a sequence of Bernoulli numbers, intended to be carried out by Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine. Women would continue to dominate the field of computer programming until the mid 1960s. In the 1880s Herman Hollerith invented the concept of storing data in machine-readable form.
A control panel added to his 1906 Type I Tabulator allowed it to be programmed for different jobs, by the late 1940s, unit record equipment such as the IBM 602 and IBM 604, were programmed by control panels in a similar way. However, with the concept of the stored-program computers introduced in 1949, both programs and data were stored and manipulated in the same way in computer memory. Machine code was the language of early programs, written in the instruction set of the particular machine in binary notation. Assembly languages were soon developed that let the programmer specify instruction in a text format, with abbreviations for each operation code and meaningful names for specifying addresses. However, because an assembly language is little more than a different notation for a machine language, any two machines with different instruction sets have different assembly languages. Kathleen Booth created one of the first Assembly languages in 1950 for various computers at Birkbeck College. High-level languages allow the programmer to write programs in terms that are syntactically richer, more capable of abstracting the code, making it targetable to varying machine instruction sets via compilation declarations and heuristics.
The first compiler for a programming language was developed by Grace Hopper. When Hopper went to work on UNIVAC in 1949, she brought the idea of using compilers with her. Compilers harness the power of computers to make programming easier by allowing programmers to specify calculations by entering a formula using infix notation for example. FORTRAN, the first used high-level language to have a functional implementation which permitted the abstraction of reusable blocks of code, came out in 1957. In 1951 Frances E. Holberton developed the first sort-merge generator which ran on the UNIVAC I. Another woman working at UNIVAC, Adele Mildred Koss, developed a program, a precursor to report generators. In USSR, Kateryna Yushchenko developed the Address programming language for the MESM in 1955; the idea for the creation of COBOL started in 1959 when Mary K. Hawes, who worked for Burroughs Corporation, set up a meeting to discuss creating a common business language, she invited six people, including Grace Hopper.
Hopper was involved in developing COBOL as a business language and creating "self-documenting" programming. Hopper's contribution to COBOL was based on her programming language, called FLOW-MATIC. In 1961, Jean E. Sammet developed FORMAC and published Programming Languages: History and Fundamentals which went on to be a standard work on programming languages. Programs were still entered using punched cards or paper tape. See computer programming in the punch card era. By the late 1960s, data storage devices and computer terminals became inexpensive enough that programs could be created by typing directly into the computers. Frances Holberton created a code to allow keyboard inputs while she worked at UNIVAC. Text editors were developed that allowed changes and corrections to be made much more than with punched cards. Sister Mary Kenneth Keller worked on developing the programming language, BASIC when she was a graduate student at Dartmouth in the 1960s. One of the first object-oriented programming languages, was developed by seven programmers, including Adele Goldberg, in the 1970s.
In 1985, Radia Perlman developed the Spannin
Linux is a family of free and open-source software operating systems based on the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released on September 17, 1991 by Linus Torvalds. Linux is packaged in a Linux distribution. Distributions include the Linux kernel and supporting system software and libraries, many of which are provided by the GNU Project. Many Linux distributions use the word "Linux" in their name, but the Free Software Foundation uses the name GNU/Linux to emphasize the importance of GNU software, causing some controversy. Popular Linux distributions include Debian and Ubuntu. Commercial distributions include SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Desktop Linux distributions include a windowing system such as X11 or Wayland, a desktop environment such as GNOME or KDE Plasma. Distributions intended for servers may omit graphics altogether, include a solution stack such as LAMP; because Linux is redistributable, anyone may create a distribution for any purpose. Linux was developed for personal computers based on the Intel x86 architecture, but has since been ported to more platforms than any other operating system.
Linux is the leading operating system on servers and other big iron systems such as mainframe computers, the only OS used on TOP500 supercomputers. It is used by around 2.3 percent of desktop computers. The Chromebook, which runs the Linux kernel-based Chrome OS, dominates the US K–12 education market and represents nearly 20 percent of sub-$300 notebook sales in the US. Linux runs on embedded systems, i.e. devices whose operating system is built into the firmware and is tailored to the system. This includes routers, automation controls, digital video recorders, video game consoles, smartwatches. Many smartphones and tablet computers run other Linux derivatives; because of the dominance of Android on smartphones, Linux has the largest installed base of all general-purpose operating systems. Linux is one of the most prominent examples of open-source software collaboration; the source code may be used and distributed—commercially or non-commercially—by anyone under the terms of its respective licenses, such as the GNU General Public License.
The Unix operating system was conceived and implemented in 1969, at AT&T's Bell Laboratories in the United States by Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, Douglas McIlroy, Joe Ossanna. First released in 1971, Unix was written in assembly language, as was common practice at the time. In a key pioneering approach in 1973, it was rewritten in the C programming language by Dennis Ritchie; the availability of a high-level language implementation of Unix made its porting to different computer platforms easier. Due to an earlier antitrust case forbidding it from entering the computer business, AT&T was required to license the operating system's source code to anyone who asked; as a result, Unix grew and became adopted by academic institutions and businesses. In 1984, AT&T divested itself of Bell Labs; the GNU Project, started in 1983 by Richard Stallman, had the goal of creating a "complete Unix-compatible software system" composed of free software. Work began in 1984. In 1985, Stallman started the Free Software Foundation and wrote the GNU General Public License in 1989.
By the early 1990s, many of the programs required in an operating system were completed, although low-level elements such as device drivers and the kernel, called GNU/Hurd, were stalled and incomplete. Linus Torvalds has stated that if the GNU kernel had been available at the time, he would not have decided to write his own. Although not released until 1992, due to legal complications, development of 386BSD, from which NetBSD, OpenBSD and FreeBSD descended, predated that of Linux. Torvalds has stated that if 386BSD had been available at the time, he would not have created Linux. MINIX was created by Andrew S. Tanenbaum, a computer science professor, released in 1987 as a minimal Unix-like operating system targeted at students and others who wanted to learn the operating system principles. Although the complete source code of MINIX was available, the licensing terms prevented it from being free software until the licensing changed in April 2000. In 1991, while attending the University of Helsinki, Torvalds became curious about operating systems.
Frustrated by the licensing of MINIX, which at the time limited it to educational use only, he began to work on his own operating system kernel, which became the Linux kernel. Torvalds began the development of the Linux kernel on MINIX and applications written for MINIX were used on Linux. Linux matured and further Linux kernel development took place on Linux systems. GNU applications replaced all MINIX components, because it was advantageous to use the available code from the GNU Project with the fledgling operating system. Torvalds initiated a switch from his original license, which prohibited commercial redistribution, to the GNU GPL. Developers worked to integrate GNU components with the Linux kernel, making a functional and free operating system. Linus Torvalds had wanted to call his invention "Freax", a portmant
Atari MEGA STE
The Atari Mega STE was Atari Corporation's last ST series personal computer, released in 1991. The MEGA STE was a late-model 680x0-based STE mounted in the case of the otherwise unrelated Atari TT computer, although a number of TT features were blended in; the resulting machine was a more business-like version of the ST line. The MEGA STE is based on STE hardware; the 2 MB and 4 MB models shipped with a high resolution mono monitor, an internal SCSI hard disk. While offering better ST compatibility than the TT, it included a number of TT features, from the ST-grey version of the TT case with separate keyboard and system unit, optional FPU, a VMEbus slot, two extra RS232 ports, a LocalTalk/RS-422 port and a 1.44 MB HD floppy support. Support for a third/middle mouse button was included, too. A unique feature of the MEGA STE in relation to previous Atari systems is the software-switchable CPU speed, which allows the CPU to operate at 16 MHz for faster processing or 8 MHz for better compatibility with old software.
An upgrade to the operating system was produced after the first units were shipped that upgraded the onboard ROMs to TOS 2.05 and to 2.6/2.06. The VME bus provided expansion capability using cards that enhanced the computer's capabilities such as enhanced graphics processing capability and Ethernet network connectivity. CPU: Motorola 68000 @ 8 or 16 MHz with 16kB cache FPU: Motorola 68881 or Motorola 68882 BLiTTER - graphics co-processor chip RAM: 1, 2 or 4 MB ST RAM expandable to 4 MB using 30-pin SIMMs Sound: Yamaha YM2149 + enhanced sound chip same as in Atari STe Drive: 720 KB or 1.44 MB 3½" floppy disk drive Ports: MIDI In/Out, 3 x RS-232, "Serial LAN" LocalTalk/RS-422, monitor, RF modulator, extra disk drive port, ACSI, SCSI, port, VMEbus inside case, detachable keyboard and mouse ports on keyboard Operating System: TOS with the Graphics Environment Manager graphical user interface TOS versions: 2.05 in ROM or 2.06 in ROM Display modes: 320×200, 640×200, 640×400 Character set: Atari ST character set Case: Two-piece slimdesktop-style.
Web page of Guillaume Tello What to do with a Mega STE? & Programs for the ST/TT family and technical articles Atari MegaSTe Memory Cache The MEGA STe review, 1992
The Atari Falcon030 Computer System is a personal computer released by Atari Corporation in 1992. The machine is based on a Motorola 68030 main CPU, had a Motorola 56000 digital signal processor, a feature which distinguished it from most other microcomputers of the era; the Falcon was the ultimate version of the Atari ST line. In comparison to previous models of the ST series, the Falcon included the 56000 for sound processing, the new VIDEL programmable graphics system, which improved graphics capabilities; the Falcon was produced only for a short period before the company stopped production of all systems other than the upcoming Atari Jaguar. It was Atari's final computer product; the Falcon was released in late 1992 and subsequently cancelled in late 1993 as Atari Corp restructured itself to focus on the release and support of its newest product, the Atari Jaguar video game console. The Falcon sold in small numbers, chiefly to hobbyists. Atari Corp. canceled it. The microbox case resembled the Sony PlayStation 2, right down to the ability to run it vertically or horizontally.
It is referenced in the PS2 patent applications. Shortly after release, Atari Corp. bundled the MultiTOS operating system in addition to TOS. TOS remained in ROM, MultiTOS was supplied on floppy disk and could be installed to boot from hard disk. In 1995, the music company C-Lab bought the rights to the Falcon hardware design and began producing their own versions; the Falcon Mk I was a direct continuation of Atari Corp.'s Falcon030 with TOS 4.04. The Falcon Mk II addressed a number of shortcomings in the original design, making it more suitable to use in a recording studio such as accepting Line-level audio in without the need for a pre-amp or mixer; the Falcon Mk X was mounted in a 19" 1U rack case, with external keyboard and space for internal SCSI hard disk drives. Today, the Falcon is one of Atari Corp.'s most popular machines for hardware modding. Due to its expansion capabilities, several accelerators have been produced; some of them overclock the CPU and/or the bus, while others upgrade the CPU to a Motorola 68060.
Source. Processor: Motorola 68030 at 16 MHz with MMU and 256 byte instruction and data caches. FPU: optional Motorola 68881 or Motorola 68882, PLCC socket DSP: Motorola 56001 DSP chip at 32 MHz. Graphics: "VIDEL" programmable video controller. Palette of 262,144 possible colours, 256 new color registers Bitplane modes of 2, 4, 16 or 256 colors Chunky 16-bit truecolor mode RGB output can feed either 15 kHz RGB monitor or TV, old Atari SM124 monitor or a VGA monitor Despite the capabilities of the Videl, the plain TOS allows the user the choice of only a few resolutions up to 640×480. In order to achieve the full potential of the Videl one has to use one of the numerous existing alternative utilities, such as "Videlity", "Videl Inside", "Blow UP" etc.. BLiTTER graphics co-processor at 16 MHz Backwards compatible with all ST resolutions. Character set: Atari ST character set, based on codepage 437. Audio: 16-bit audio input and output up to 50 kHz - 8 stereo channels SDMA sound/DMA Co-processor Yamaha Y3439-F 3 Channel PSG Memory: 1, 4, or 14 MB of RAM with 512 kB ROM.
Bus Speed: 16 MHz, Bus width: 16 bit Drives and I/O 2.5 inch IDE - internal 1.44 MB 3.5 inch PC compatible Floppy disk - internal External SCSI-II connector MIDI IN and OUT 2x serial ports Bidirectional LPT port DSP port with I²S buses for external expansions as ADCs/DACs, S/PDIF or ADAT interfaces 2× 9-pin mouse/joystick ports 2× analog joystick ROM/Cartridge port used by dongles and some expansion cards LocalTalk compatible Local area network port The heart of the system is the 32-bit Motorola 68030 clocked at 16 MHz. It runs at about 5.76 MIPS while displaying video modes with the fewest colors. Despite its 32-bit CPU, the Falcon does not have 32-bit architecture throughout its design, as it has a 16-bit data bus and a 24-bit address bus; this reduces the 68030's performance when not operating inside its tiny cache and limits the maximum system memory to ~14 MB. The microprocessor is supported by a Motorola 56001 DSP clocked at 32 MHz and performing ca. 16 million instructions per second.
Although it is oriented to sound processing, it is capable of graphics processing. It can jointly with the 68030, play MP3 files in real time. Another innovation is the VIDEL video controller; the possibilities offered by the graphics processor are limited only by its frequency and the slowness of the RAM, as the graphics memory is shared with system memory which can degrade performance when using high resolutions or video modes requiring many bit planes. The parameters are numerous; the number of colors is adjustable when VIDEL operates in bit plane mode. This mode is available for compatibility with the previous generation, but is quite complex to manage. There is a true color 16-bit mode in which bits defining each pixel are grouped together to display 65,536 colors simulta