I ran across this strange modernistic? Data General ...odd?

Bruce Ray Bruce at Wild-Hare.com
Sat May 26 11:38:41 CDT 2018

DG extensively used both its microNova and microEclipse processors for 
various products.  The microNova was used for printer, terminal and 
display products around mid '70s, the microEclipse (code named "Alpha") 
was heavily used in communications processor add-ons.  I do not recall a 
single customer/OEM using the chips in its own products - only board or 
systems.  I am curious and will look into this further.   I do not think 
it was a hostile attitude of DG's, rather the diverse and competitive 
chip market in the 1980s that made DG a non-issue.

The Fairchild 9445 was a very good product, and was an extension of the 
Nova 3 architecture.  It had few superior memory MAP and alternative 
address extension that I wish were in the DG products.  (BTW, Fairchild 
used Nova 3s in its own production facilities.)  Strobe Data created a 
successful PC ISA-bus Nova-like, Fairchild-based co-processor that a 
significant number of DG OEMs eventually moved to.

MCBA applications were indeed written initially in standard DG Extended 
BASIC and later [re]written in ICOBOL (DG Interactive COBOL).  MCBA and 
several other OEMs each independently wrote ISAM file libraries to adapt 
Extended BASIC for business environments.  MCBA was able to successfully 
expand into other hardware vendor markets due to using the "portable 
BASIC" (and COBOL) approach and its derivatives are still in use today.

The story of Nova architecture derivatives - technical, business and 
legal - is another long story.  And 'yes', Novas and its derivatives are 
still used today...


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

...preserving the Data General legacy: www.NovasAreForever.org

On 5/23/2018 9:47 AM, Chuck Guzis via cctech wrote:
> On 05/22/2018 10:46 PM, Lars Brinkhoff via cctech wrote:
>> This is with a microEclipse CPU, right?
>> I'm surprised the Nova/Eclipse architecture doesn't get more love.
>> It seems quite pleasant.
> As I recall--and please correct me--DG was extremely hostile to the
> notion of third parties incorporating the MicroNova in any of their
> products.
> The same situation applied to the Fairchild 9440 MicroFlame, which was
> essentially a clone of the MicroNova architecture.  I recall that
> Fairchild didn't want to talk to you (I tried) if you weren't in defense
> or aerospace or the like.
> The basic idea of the 4x16 bit register 16-bit architecture was copied
> to some extent by National Semi in their multichip IMP-16 and
> single-chip PACE and 9440, but it was mostly in the "spirit of a
> Nova"--performance wasn't all that great in comparison to the current 8
> bit MPUs.
> Weren't the MCBA business applications originally written in Nova BASIC?
> --Chuck

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