Osborne!

The machine, the man, and the dawn of the portable computing revolution.

By  |  Friday, April 1, 2011 at 6:45 am

“I knew we were designing a completely new machine, that it would be recognized as innovative (if it was successful) but most of all–it had to work and work reliably,” Felsenstein remembers. “Getting into these oh-how-great-I-am or oh-how-important-this-is mindsets squelches the game of creativity, in my experience.”

Complete–and Cheap

The fact that the Osborne 1 was a fully-functioning personal computer in a portable case captured the imagination of techies in 1981. But it was only the second most innovative thing about the system. The most impressive part of the deal was that the computer gave you absolutely you needed to be productive for one remarkably low price: $1795.

Back in 1981, PCs often came with no software whatsoever except for Microsoft BASIC, and the notion of office suites didn’t yet exist. The Osborne 1, however, came with the CP/M operating system; WordStar, the most popular word processor; SuperCalc, a spreadsheet commissioned by Osborne that became popular as a standalone product;  and both Microsoft BASIC and its rival CBASIC. (Later on, for a time, it also came with dBASE II, the most popular database manager.) Adam Osborne had assembled the impressive collection of apps in part by striking deals to trade stock for software licenses: he later said that he swapped 2.5 percent of Osborne Computer Corporation to Microsoft in exchange for the rights to distribute its BASIC.

Adam Osborne with the Osborne 1, in a publicity photo from the April 3, 1981 announcement.

Today, in an era of capable $500 laptops, it can be difficult to understand just how attractive the Osborne 1 was at $1795 (about $4370 in current dollars). At the time, an Apple II with 48KB of RAM (less than the Osborne, but the maximum available) listed for $1530. Two floppy drives and the required interface cost another $1170. A 12″ monochrome monitor was $320. DOS 3.3 was $60, and if you shopped around you could find WordStar and VisiCalc for a total of about $450. That’s around $3500 ($8500 in 2011 dollars) for a system roughly comparable in capabilities to the $1795 Osborne–and while it may have been slicker, it was in no way mobile.

Price was only part of the appeal of the Osborne 1’s all-in-one approach, Thom Hogan, an InfoWorld editor who became Osborne Computer’s director of software, says that the company’s greatest achievement was:

Something that Steve Jobs eventually learned from us, actually: simplicity of customer decision. At the time the Osborne 1 was launched, your choices at that level of capability were basically CP/M based systems from a number of vendors or an Apple II. In both cases, those other choices required you to make a LOT of decisions as a customer. For an Apple II: memory, drives, monitor, sometimes boards to add those things, plus software. A typical customer had to make five or six, sometimes more, decisions just to get the boxes necessary to build a useful system, and then they had to put it all together themselves…So Osborne not only saved the person money, but time and agony on the decision-making. Note how iPads are sold: two decisions: memory and communications. And they work out of the box, nothing needing to be assembled by the user.

The Osborne 1 was the first personal computer product that really did that (even the Radio Shack TRS-80 forced you into a number of decisions). Basically, plop down US$1795, take the box home, unpack it, plug it in, and start using your computer. One of the things that was integral to that was a stupid little <1K program I wrote. Previous to the Osborne, the user had to CONFIGURE CP/M. Even once configured, you’d boot from CP/M, then have to put in your word processing disc and execute from that. When you got an Osborne, you put the WP disk into the computer and you ended up in WordStar. In other words, we booted through the OS to the task the user wanted to do. Again, simplification of both process and pieces. As a result of that the Osborne was a no-brainer in terms of selling it against any other computer that was available in 1981: any sales person could demonstrate “put in the disc, turn it on, start writing” compared to “assemble the computer, configure the software, start the software program, start writing.”

The Osborne 1’s hardware may have channeled existing designs and been engineered by Lee Felsenstein, but it’s reasonable to give Adam Osborne himself credit for the computer’s conceptual approachability. He was, says David Bunnell, “a visionary and a thought leader, and one of the people who defined what a personal computer should be. It should be easy out of the box, and you shouldn’t have to be an engineer or a scientist to use it. He pushed those ideas before there was a Macintosh.”

Here’s a 1981 ad (image borrowed from Fukuhara.com) that evocatively summarizes the Osborne 1’s value proposition–and reminds us that it competed less against other computers than against no computer at all:

 

Osborne 1 nemesis the Kaycomp II.

The first issue of Osborne's magazine, The Portable Companion. The photo, shot in Afghanistan, shows reporter David Kline, his Osborne 1, and a bunch of Mujahideen. Image courtesy of Vintage-Computer.com.

The Rivals Arrive

The first Osborne 1 units shipped to dealers in June 1981. In August 1982, the company sold $10 million worth of computers; for the fiscal year that ended in February 1983, its revenues reached $100 million.

Thom Hogan says the experience of working at Osborne during its ascent was dizzying:

Remember, with $4 million in capital we generated $73 millon in sales in 12 months. We went from just Adam and Lee working on the prototype to fifteen hundred employees and another fifteen hundred temps in twelve months. While Compaq did similar things a year later, they started with over $20 million in capital and their executive team was a tech-trained one. Osborne’s was a hodgepodge of people doing things the first time…There’s something almost magical that happens in Silicon Valley when the idea is bigger than the capabilities that produced it.

I’ll give you one anecdotal illustration of how insane it could be. The VP of marketing [Georgette Psaris] and I went to a trade show in Chicago for a week. During that time, the company added a building and three hundred employees. They moved almost everyone. So when we got back, I remember Georgette looking out of her office—which hadn’t moved—and trying to find her employees. They were no longer in the same area, and there wasn’t any map of where people were yet. So she had to walk up and down rows of cubicles in two buildings shouting names out trying to find her staff.

With numbers like that, it’s no surprise that the Osborne 1 soon had company in the portable-computer market it created. It got its defining competitor in April 1982, when the West Coast Computer Faire served as the launching pad for a machine called the Kaycomp II (later Kaypro II) from Non-Linear Systems, a maker of test equipment. InfoWorld called at “an Osborne lookalike,” and it sold for the same $1795 price and had a similar software bundle. But there were some differences: The Kaycomp’s metal case made it even heavier than the plastic-cased Osborne, and it had a spacious 9″ screen that could display 80 columns of text.

In June 1982, TIME reported that at “least a dozen” companies had demoed portable computers at a trade show in Houston; by October, The Christian Science Monitor updated the figure to “dozens” of new portable-computer players entering the market.

The Osborne 1 had a connector for an external monitor, which led some users to treat it like a desktop rather than a portable. Photograph copyright (c) Corbis.

Adam Osborne wasn’t fazed. In its famous January 1983 issue that named the computer as “Machine of the Year,” TIME profiled Osborne, noted his extreme confidence and quoted him saying of a new competitor, “We’ll kill that machine dead, dead, dead.”

The magazine noted that the upstart was based in Texas, but didn’t say whether it happened to be Compaq, a startup which had introduced its luggable–which InfoWorld described as “an IBM PC act-alike that you can carry around like an Osborne”–at the COMDEX show in November of 1982.

Luggables of all sorts faced featherweight competition in the form of a new portables that were often called “lap-size computers.” Early entrants included Grid Compass, introduced in April 1982 at $8000, and the much cheaper and more popular Radio Shack Model 100, announced in March 1983. Instead of being the size of a briefcase, the Model 100 could fit inside a briefcase–and it ran for 20 hours on four AA batteries. It was nowhere near as powerful as the Osborne 1, but it was a computer which you could use on an airplane.

Another new computer that had a profound impact on Osborne had been announced in August 1981, just months after the Osborne 1. It was the original IBM PC–and while it wasn’t portable, it changed everything about the personal computer business. CP/M had been the closest thing the industry had to an industry standard; IBM’s hardware platform and Microsoft’s operating system would play that role in the years to come.

By August of 1983, InfoWorld published a story called “Transportables: Here to Stay?” It quoted one analyst who dismissed the possibility that laptops might displace luggables. But Hal Kinne of Future Computing wasn’t so sure. “Wait until the lap computers become PC- or CP/M compatible,” he cautioned InfoWorld. “Then there’ll be trouble.”

“The Osborne Effect”

As 1983 started, Osborne Computer still seemed to be thriving. “We are no longer a start-up company,” boasted Adam Osborne in January. “We are a force in the microcomputer revolution. We are now the fastest growing company in the history of Silicon Valley.” He did his bragging on the occasion Robert Jaunich, an executive at Consolidated Foods, being named as Osborne Computer’s new president. (Among Consolidated’s products was Shasta cola; Apple Computer wouldn’t name its own soft-drink magnate, Pepsi president John Sculley, as CEO until a few months later.) ” Osborne himself retained the title of CEO.

“We are now the fastest growing company in the history of Silicon Valley.”

–Adam Osborne, January 1983

The same month, the Wall Street Journal published a story titled “Osborne Computer Going Public as Portable Product Succeeds.” It reported on the company’s successes, mentioned the growing competition from rivals such as Kaypro and “a promising new company named Compaq Computer of Houston,” and mentioned new Osborne machines in the works:

The company expects to introduce some more products this spring. One, an improvement on the Osborne 1, is supposed to be a lighter, more compact and less expensive machine with a bigger screen. In addition, Osborne is expected to introduce a portable that mimics International Business Machines Corp.’s best-selling personal computer.

The Osborne Executive. Courtesy of Vintage-Computer.com.

Osborne Computer did release a new computer in May: the Executive, an upscale $2495 luggable with a 7″ screen. It was supposed to complement the Osborne 1 rather than replace it. And it was neither the lighter, cheaper system the Journal had mentioned nor the IBM PC mimic. (Like the Osborne 1, it ran the increasingly archaic CP/M, but Osborne started talking about an Executive II that would run DOS)

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31 Comments For This Post

  1. Steven Sinofsky Says:

    Thanks Harry! I lugged this machine to college–it practically took up my whole dorm room!! It also ran my parent's entire business using dBase. The 300b modem and fidonet made for quite the connection to the "world" :-)

  2. The_Heraclitus Says:

    A few years later I had the Compaq clone to this one. It was amazing to be able to use the same machine at work & home.

  3. pragmatist Says:

    While there is little doubt that cash flow was a huge part of what happened there, I think that there is more to the story. For one thing, clearly the "Osborne Effect" is real. It certainly didn't help the situation, and if dealers really did cancel orders, it had to have made the problem far worse.

    There are, I think, another two issues as well. One is the idea (which we have seen with other companies) that you can easily move top executives from one industry to another. Sometimes it works, but clearly it didn't work here. The pricing on the "executive" was stupid enough that I can't dismiss the description of Jaunich's tenure as being filled with "terrible and stupid decisions" and the decision to appoint him as really bad, as sour grapes. The wrong top executive, making a string of bad decisions can bring even a company with a healthy cash flow to its knees.

    Last, but not least, is the fact that Osborne (both the man and the company) refused to move with the market. The original Osborne was revolutionary. But, staying primarily with CP/M and not quickly offering compelling updated hardware at competitive pricing meant that things would have crashed. It's hard to make the argument that they didn't move because of the cash flow problems – they DID introduce new models. They just didn'tintroduce models that anyone would want to buy, but they refused to see that.

  4. Owen Linderholm Says:

    Thanks for that Harry, I met Adam right after I moved to the Bay Area when I was working at Computer Currents and we had a good chat about all kinds of things. He was a little bitter but very encouraging to me as someone new to the Valley. He was very much larger than life and wanted to talk about non-tech things more than anything else. I remember that we talked about him moving to India so that must have been coming up. But he didn't talk about health problems.

  5. CMF Says:

    FYI – about 15 years ago, I bought a brand new Osborne, from a dealer who was closing. I have it in storage; complete with all the software, canvas case, and original literature.

    I also have a few Actrix "portables". Originally called Actrix Matrix. A cool machine with a 360 baud internal & external modem (acoustic cups). Has a built-in Epson FX 80 printer, 2 floppy discs & 7" monochrome screen. Also have a TRS 80 & a Sinclair.

    CMF

  6. Larsen E Whipsnade Says:

    After the ZX80 and the Apple II, here was a machine that I could use to earn a living. The Osborne quickly helped me to learn spreadsheets, word-processing, and databases with dBaseII. With this one box, I had broken through the limitations of Basic, and there was no stopping after that. I even managed to attach a Trantor 5mb hard-drive onto my Osborne. I've got good memories of those days!

  7. Jonathan Says:

    When I think portable computers of the time I think Timex Sinclair. I think I still have one in the attic somewhere.

  8. Walter Jeffries Says:

    I had one. Still have it. Somewhere. And an Exidy Sorcerer, Mac128K, MacPlus, MacSE and even a PDP11 mini. Oh, and an HP-71B and a sliderule that are hanging on my wall right here. Incase of power outages. :)

  9. The_Heraclitus Says:

    Wow! A PDP-11. That brings back memories.

  10. Dave Mathews Says:

    Great homage Harry! This was my first computer, and I loved the 300 baud (not the speed, but the design) modem that would slide into a floppy (back when they were) disk pocket as an integrated unit.

    When I was 14 I hired a young programmer to port his Kaypro BBS program to my Osborne, so that I could show sponsored ads when people called into my system – to offset the cost of the phone line. In these days the CP/M operating system was not the same from computer to computer – as the registers were different based upon the motherboard configurations. Even though the Z-80 chips were the same under the hood most software and floppy disks were not portable. This was the first time that this young hobbiest programmer was paid for his work as a developer. That programmer was Dave Moellenhoff, CTO and co-founder of San Francisco-based Salesforce.com. If only I would have invested that $100 in his company, but showing him that he could get paid for his then hobby is a proud and inspirational moment in life that I can look back to.

    I too have a bit of respect posted on my page for the Ozzy. Her 83k floppies and 176k double density upgrade were packed to the gills with public domain software!

    My respect to Adam, a man who was indeed larger than life at 6" something! When I met him at 15 at Computerland in St. Louis, Missouri he towered above everyone.

    I still have it, and have a serial to Ethernet adapter that I will put The Missing Link BBS up on the Internet again someday. Now, I don't have to worry about the cost of that phone line… Boy have times changed. http://davemathews.com/osborne.html

  11. Forrest MacGregor Says:

    I not only owned one in the early 1980's, but when Osborne went belly up, I went around Denver and bought every inventory I could find… software, broken machines, accessories, new units, upgrades, drives, monitors, manuals. I bought it all for about 5 cents on the dollar, and sold it over the coming year at maybe 25-35 cents on the dollar and made 20K or so. The Osborne was the first complete machine, and the early adopter community back then was mostly lawyers and accountants, plus engineers. The lawyers and accountants needed support, and had significant investments in their machines. I had a deal where I would charge no more than $100 plus parts to repair one. No fix, no charge. Breaks again? I fix it for free. I was overwhelmed and it added to my salary at the local rocket company I worked at rather nicely. I put a lot of miles on those things, and fondly remember the experience and the product, which was pretty well done, IMO.

    Worth noting.. the early adopters were all taken by the time that the Kaypro came out, and they were the machines of choice for students, homemakers, and second tier professionals. The dynamics of the market changed, and I left Denver anyway to pursue my engineering career, but I use this experience to illustrate to people what a little risk, small capital, and timing can do for your income/self-employment dreams. RIP, Adam O. I think you and your company rocked.

  12. Harry McCracken Says:

    I always wanted an Exidy Sorcerer..

  13. Minogaade Says:

    Yes! Bundling dBase was heaven for me–the bundled software was unbelievably powerful for its day. I know, I'd bought an IBM selectric typewriter the year before, just to have access to variable fonts.

  14. Scott Mace Says:

    I covered the introduction of the Tandy Model 100 for InfoWorld during a trip around Texas in 1983, and by the time I got to Ft. Worth, the Osborne 1 I had lugged from InfoWorld had died and instead I wrote and filed my news story on a borrowed Model 100.

  15. Bob Stepno Says:

    Thanks for this, harry. I'm writing on a screen about half the size of my old osborne — a Droid . but I'm using this speech to text to save my eyes and create amusing typos I was 1 of about 40 faculty members and grad students who bought osborne ones at wesleyan university in 1982 after the university put some faculty ideal personal computer specs out to bid.

    The case keyboard and small screen looked a lot like a portable terminal people have been using at the hartford courant for a couple years. I think it had a cassette tape drive built in and was compatible with the newspaper's atex system. Teleram?

    At wesleyan the software bundle was the primary selling point for the osborne. I recall an apple too if you added to floppy drives and all of that software would have come and add easily double the price we paid for the osborne dbaseII supercalc wordstar mbasic cbasic , the original adventure game mychess and I forget what all else

    By that time december 1982 when we took delivery the bundle also included an external monitor which would double the 52 columns screen making 104 columns great for spreadsheets, double density disk drives and a 300 baud modem… or maybe the modem was extra.

    I do remember that the computer center hacked together cables we could use to plug an osborne directly into the d e c 20 mainframe as a terminal and do file transfers. Doing document conversion transfers between our mainframe editor and wordstar was another thing.

    I also went to work for the university av wizard Bob White, who physically hacked the insides of 24 inch classroom tv monitors. I recall the trick involved cutting some sheet metal rolling it into 8 tube and putting it over the back end of the picture tube. (Ymmv)

    I became editor of the wesleyan osborne group newsletter And shared the osborne in a lab to get a discount on a 1983 summer computer course at wesleyan with the amazing russ walter of "secrets guide to computers" fame . ..starting me on the way to a second masters and my 1986-88 hypertext research.

    Russ's courses and the newsletter plus some other how to things I had written for the Wes computer center got me my first job in the computer industry 1984 at MultiMate–also due for a 30th anniv soon) ultimately leading to working for you at IDG

    So it's all thanks to adam. :-)

  16. Kathleen M. Barnard Says:

    Interesting site. I bought an Osborne when I retired from teaching in 1982. As I recall, a month later the Company went into bankruptcy. (The article indicates that it was 1983 before the compay was in that situation?) At any rate I had purchased from Dayton's in St Paul. I called and they told me they would take over the guarantee offered by the Osborne. Which they did until I replaced the "Ozzie" (my name for it) with a hmmm____now I can;'t remember!

    "Ozzie" got a lot of use from our son in college and my volunteer work on things like a membership committee (records kept on paper lists and paper cards and in three locations!), newsletters–I belonged to a lot of things. Amazing the amount of information and work you can do with just two little floppies–even more with the 3' successor!.

    However in 2006 we had to condense a five bedroom house (with full basement) into a two bedroom apartment–so lots of things had to go!

    "Ozzie" and our son's Kaypro are now somewhere in the BSan Francisco Bay area with an electrical engineer who was interested enough to pay transportation. (I couldn't bear "putting Ozzie down" by sending him to the dump–and the closet floor dind't care–it would support anything placed there without complaining.

    But the replacement was a Windows machine–and I struggled with those (Yes, I had to reinstall and defrag and all those things and wait for the blankety blank window to open again!) until January of 2010 when at age 89, I finally got smart enough to take my grandson's advice and purchase an IMac. And now I'm set up with a wreless net and a Macbook for portability. (ANd currently swearing at all the passwords I'm expected to remember!

    Interesting magazine you are publishing. I shall look forward to reading it–if I ever figure out how to subscribe!
    Cheers!
    Kathleen M. Barnard,

  17. Norm Says:

    I loved VP Planner 3D – everything Lotus 123 was plus a great deal more. 3 dimensional spreadsheets you could rotate! Easy installation off of one floppy. Virtual memory (made a difference when all you had was 640K) Multiple graphs on the same page. much more.

    It was a great injustice, imo, when they were litigated out of business by Lotus.

    imo

    Norm

  18. dan Says:

    I loved my Osborne (I think it was an Osborne 2). I also had a Kaypro (got it out of a dumpster, fixed a broken wire, and used it for two years). My Compaq rounded out the set. I also had a Timex Sinclair, but to be honest, I did not use it much.

    In many businesses is seems the early pioneers died blazing the trail. The same spirit that made them go forward into the wild made them vulnerable as well.

  19. Bill Says:

    I bought my Osbourne in March of 1983 and what really made the deal so sweet was the bundled Dbase program. Back then you had to make your own programs to print labels for mass mailing … it beat the old "address-o-graph machines" … or making your own labels using a copy machine, wax paper, and spray adhesive backing then cutting them in strips. It was an incredible leap because this computer did something that was unheard of — sort on zip codes! It was a dream come true. Wonderful memories!!!!

  20. SuperG Says:

    What heady days those were.

    My dad was the primary developer of SuperCalc and was one of the people who worked the booth at the Osbourne's initial demo at the WCCF. They stayed up all night the night before getting the units ready. They found that the knobs that manipulated the brightness and horiz/vertical control broke easily. They glued the knobs to McDonald's straws which were in turn glued the display board and they made it through the show. I got to hang out at the booth and cruise the floors of the show. It was awesome.

    They couldn't spring for a booth in the Civic Auditorium like Apple. But, they had the first booth at the bottom of the stairs from the auditorium leading into Brooks Hall.

    My dad still had one of the demo units for years. I think he eventually donated it to a museum or something. But, I'd hack up cbasic programs on it. In the Spring of 82, I wrote an 8th grade history paper in WordStar printed on an Epson printer about Robert Oppenheimer.

  21. Harry McCracken Says:

    Great stuff!

    –Harry

  22. G R Balleisen Says:

    Nice piece and great research. You seem to have interviewed a number of the right people who were either intimately involved (Lee) or aware of the history (all the press guys). Adam and his invention was a seminal part of the PC/ micro-computing evolution whose impact is still apart of the DNA of current technology.

    I still have one of the original six prototypes that were shown at the WCCF and after reading this article, I dragged it out and amazingly it fired right up and booted after 30 years…a feat Adam hadn't included in the original product plan…

    BTW, the knobs that were hot-glued with drinking straws are alow still in place

  23. dholyer Says:

    I remember the Osborne 1 starting the mobile computing industry. I actually enter the field in 1986 when I traded my Atari 800XL system in for a NEC laptop. I converted all my floppys to 3.5" disks that the NEC had two of. And in IBM PC format. My Atari had software to use a 3.5" floppy and format an write PC format disks. I may not have been able to use the software going from 8bit to 16/32bit but the data (or to me the inportant stuff) did move.

  24. jas Says:

    Our Osborne 1 brought me kicking and screaming into home computing. We bought one "to help me" type my husband's PhD dissertation. I did that, and became so addicted to the durn thing that I lugged it on the airplane (with a baby and two children under 6 years) from NY to TX on vacation…by myself! I will never forget all the tips and dirty tricks learned from user group magazines, and the thrill of seeing words flash across that dinky screen the first time I connected with a BBS via 300 baud modem. All I ever learned about relating to computers I learned from Ozzy. Thanks for the memories.

  25. Bill Says:

    Still have my 2nd generation 01 that I bought in 1982 after graduate school (present to myself). My first job was compiling survey results for my father's work using SuperCalc. My wife also used the O1 for law school and still teases me about the 52 column screen. The machine is in my home office closet in the original box with all software, manuals (even the tech manual), purchase receipt and external monitor.

  26. Eric Says:

    What a great read, this was truly an entertaining article.
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  28. Bohdan Steplewski Says:

    I read the article with special interest – I met Adam Osborne while being a foreign exchange student at Delaware University, Newark DE. We became quite close friends, and my wife and myself visited Adam in !975 and 1982 while keeping in touch till the very end of his life (still have his last letters from India).
    He was a visionary, leaping forward into future and overtaking his contemporaries by two lengths., with razor sharp bright mind. Always full of optimism that allowed him to find the way to overtake any technical obstacle.
    Pity we lost him so early.

  29. Julien Says:

    Nice read! I am glad I stumbled upon it.

  30. DW Smith Says:

    I originally purchased my Osborne 1 in 1983 for $1795 from a ‘Xerox’ computer store on Lawrence Expressway near Central Expressway in Silicon Valley. I had to learn ‘programming’ to be able to qualify for the job I wanted in support at Tandem Computers. The O1, Turbo Pascal, and a few classes at Foothill College got me there, and I thank Adam for making it possible. I actually met Adam once at a ‘swap meet’ where he was selling software at a table surrounded by others selling ‘shareware’ and other games. This was probably in the mid 80s, and he wasn’t a happy camper. But I was in awe.

    After the bankruptcy, I attended their ‘auction’ at the factory, and was able to win two O1s for about $300 each. There were rows of tables with computers and auction numbers to choose from. I helped my uncle and his ‘TechniPubs’ business go digital with the DSDD, 80 column unit I bought at the auction.

    In the mid 1990s, I tried to sell my Osborne at a garage sale. My uncle had moved on to a PC too, and added his to the sale: 1 for $20, 2 for $10. No takers. I remember taking my O1 and carefully sitting it on the top of a pile at the dump. A guy in an orange rubber suit walked by and picked it up, probably thinking it was a sewing machine. I hope it got recycled.

    I now teach computer programming at a community college. I decided to try to get an O1 working to demo Turbo Pascal to one of my classes this year. Ebay provided the hardware, the web provided disk images, Dave Dunfield (RIP) provided the software to cut Osborne disks on an old DOS box, and I now have 2 O1s and 2 Execs running CP/M, Wordstar, Turbo Pascal and Supercalc. I have to say I prefer the 7″ screen on the Execs.

    The second Exec I got on ebay came with ALL of the original books and disks. It also has a very detailed set of technical manuals for programmers. One of the books even includes the full ROM listings in assembly language with comments!

    Thanks for the story, and I thank Osborne for my career(s). RIP Adam, you changed my life.

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