Motherboard (Was: The Burroughs B5900 and E-Mode

Fred Cisin cisin at
Thu Oct 15 12:18:46 CDT 2015

>> Wire wrapped motherboard and only one in existance ! Sheesh what a risk.
On Thu, 15 Oct 2015, Mark Linimon wrote:
> minor quibble: I doubt they called it a "motherboard" in that time frame.
> More likely "backplane".

Wasn't the B5900 from 1980?
"Motherboard" was around then, although Burroughs might not have used it.
Burroughs might very well have been more inclined to call it "backplane".

"The earliest known reference to motherboard, the main circuit board of a 
personal computer, comes from a 1971 article in the British journal 
Electrical and Electronics Abstracts, according to the Oxford English 
Dictionary. The article refers to one daughterboard mounted vertically on 
a computer size motherboard."

Google is not my friend today.  I'm encountering multiple variants of "in 
the 1980s and 1990s, it became popular to put peripheral controllers on 
the board", red and blue text overlayed on a full color picture, "IBM PC 
was the first motherboard" (especially amusing since it was similar form 
factor and basic layout as Apple][)

S100 backplane was often called a "motherboard".
By 1978, the Apple ][ main board was called a "motherboard" in the 
industry, although IIRC, Apple preferred to call it a "logic board".

IBM explicitly refused to call it a "motherboard" on the 5150.  According 
to an unreliable source (my late uncle working there at the time), that 
was due to horrified shock at TV coverage of Black Panther speeches at 
Merritt College in Oakland in the late 1960s (when I had attended) and 
on, that had very extensive use of the word "MOTHERFUCKER", shortened to 
"MOTHER__" on TV.  "UP AGAINST THE WALL MOTHER__!"  To avoid association,
IBM refused to call it a "motherboard".

In the late 1960s, Merritt College had a 1401 and a 1620.
Some say that Peralta Community College District's decision to move 
Merritt College up into the suburban hills in 1972? was in order to pull 
the campus out from under the Panthers.  In early 1980s, Merritt College 
had a DEC with a rarely working third party drive, and then switched to 
5150s in 1983.  I taught up on the hill for 20 years, starting in 1983 
(total of more than 30 years teaching in the PCCD system)

Grumpy Ol' Fred     		cisin at

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