Pioneering Computers, List of

Altair 8800. The pioneering microcomputer that galvanized hardware hackers. Building this kit made you learn hacking. Then you tried to figure out what to do with it.

Apple II. Steve Wozniak’s friendly, flaky, good-looking computer, wildly successful and the spark and soul of a thriving industry.

Atari 800. This home computer gave great graphics to game hackers like John Harris, though the company that made it was loath to tell you how it worked.

IBM PC. IBM’s entry into the personal computer market, which amazingly included a bit of the Hacker Ethic and took over.

IBM 704. IBM was The Enemy and this was its machine, the Hulking Giant computer in MIT’s Building 26. Later modified into the IBM 709, then the IBM 7090. Batch-processed and intolerable.

LISP Machine. The ultimate hacker computer, invented mostly by Greenblatt and subject of a bitter dispute at MIT.

PDP-1. Digital Equipment’s first minicomputer and in 1961 an interactive godsend to the MIT hackers and a slap in the face to IBM fascism.

PDP-6. Designed in part by Kotok, this mainframe computer was the cornerstone of the AI lab, with its gorgeous instruction set and sixteen sexy registers.

Sol Computer. Lee Felsenstein’s terminal-and-computer, built in two frantic months, almost the computer that turned things around. Almost wasn’t enough.

Tom Swift Terminal. Lee Felsenstein’s legendary, never-to-be-built computer terminal, which would give the user ultimate leave to get his hands on the world.

TX-0. Filled a small room, but in the late fifties, this $3 million machine was world’s first personal computer—for the community of MIT hackers that formed around it.

Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution – 25th Anniversary Edition
Steven Levy