Re: I ran across this strange modernistic  Data General ...odd  computer

Bruce Ray Bruce at
Tue May 22 09:42:08 CDT 2018

G'day Zane -

Like every other computer system created, the Desktop Generation has its 
own set of quirks and wonders.  It was an interesting evolutionary 
repackage of the microEclipse processor, but I never saw a customer or 
user site actually using the Model 10's MS-DOS "compatibility feature".

The hardware consisted of modular metal frame chassis with snap-on 
plastic covers. While great for manufacturing and cost control, the 
delicate plastic cover retaining tabs were always breaking and the 
covers would pull away from the chassis or just fall off.  Only an 
annoying cosmetic problem until you find that  a "dead man's switch" 
interlock was maintained by the power supply chassis front cover.  Yes, 
the power supply would always be cut off whenever the plastic cover 
shifted, vibrated or fell off the chassis.  Which happened often.  (The 
cheapest solution was the  unintended, creative use of a ball point pen 
combined with nerd engineering.)

Many OEMS delivered DG/RDOS- or AOS-based applications written in ICOBOL 
or Business BASIC (i.e. NAPA).  These were good systems for OEMs who had 
previously developed software for DG - providing their application was 
not disk-bound.  DG eventually was forced to design and sell a parallel 
I/O bus option to help improve disk performance... to the confusion of 
customers previously told of the benefits of a serial I/O bus design.

The system was followed by the DG/500, which had a similar hardware 
functional microEclipse-based design but enclosed in a then-familiar IBM 
PC AT (desktop) form factor.  This was the final unsuccessful attempt to 
defend the low-end 16-bit Eclipse line from the PC onslaught.


Bruce Ray
Wild Hare Computer Systems, Inc.
Boulder, Colorado USA
bkr at

...preserving the Data General legacy:

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