Aquarius (was Re: Apple 1)

Liam Proven lproven at
Mon Jun 15 08:35:47 CDT 2020

On Mon, 15 Jun 2020 at 15:25, Ethan O'Toole via cctalk
<cctalk at> wrote:
> > Actually, Al was hired as an Apple Fellow in 1985. His first project was
> > "Trojan" a 68000 mac on an ISA card that mixed EGA and square pixel Mac
> > video. I was the Mac-side programmer on the project. Marketing killed it
> > before it got from ATG to product development.
> That is wild! That would have been an interesting product.

It certainly would. I never heard of this before.

There is a technological precedent -- well, maybe not before, but
equivalent, anyway.

This is basically an enhanced (68040-based) Sinclair QL on an ISA card.

It uses the DOS PC for all I/O, keeps its files in the DOS filesystem,
etc., but it runs apps on its own processor in its own RAM. Given that
the original QL had very slow stringy-floppy drives, fairly low-spec
and quite slow graphics, this was quite a good, elegant compromise.

Conceptually similar to the Acorn Springboard:

An ARM co-pro for a PC compatible, on an ISA card.

But you had to write your own apps for the Springboard -- it wasn't
Archimedes-compatible (and given that the Archie had very good sound,
graphics and I/O for its time, it would have been horribly crippled if
it was.

The QXL card made a PC into a (partial) QL-compatible, able to run QL apps.

A chap at ByteFest last summer had a QXL installed in an Amstrad
ALT386, itself now a rare and collectible machine -- a very early 386
colour laptop, complete with a short ISA slot. So, 2 rare machines in
one, and a powerful portable QL!

Language issues meant I did not find out much more...

Liam Proven – Profile:
Email: lproven at – gMail/gTalk/gHangouts: lproven at
Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn/Flickr: lproven – Skype: liamproven
UK: +44 7939-087884 – ČR (+ WhatsApp/Telegram/Signal): +420 702 829 053

More information about the cctalk mailing list