<computer> (Quantum Leap) Sir Clive Sinclair's first Motorola 68008-based
personal computer, developed from around 1981 and released about 1983. The QL
ran Sinclair's QDOS operating system which was the first multitasking OS on a
home computer, though few programmers used this feature. It had a structured,
extended BASIC and a suite of integrated application programs written by Psion.
It featured innovative "microdrives" which were random access tape drives. It
was not a success.
The microdrives were innovative but probably a mistake. Though reliable and
quite quick, they sounded like they were going to jam and explode, releasing a
shower of plastic shavings and tape into your face.
The QL and QDOS only supported two graphics modes - ominously named high res and
low res. High res had four (fixed) colours at a resolution of 512 by 256 pixels.
Low res had 8 colours (black, blue, red, magenta, green, cyan, yellow, white)
plus a flash mode with 256 by 256 pixels. The sound was next to useless - single
channel single oscillator with various parameters for fuzz, pitch change. There
was one internal font, scalable to 2 heights and 3 widths.
Peripherals and enhancements included a GUI on a plug-in ROM, accelerator cards
(Motorola 68020, 4 MB RAM), floppy disks and hard disks.
In 1996 there is still some interest in the QL, spread by the Internet of
course. Emulation software, source code, "The QL Hackers Journal" and similar
are still available, and many QLs are on the net.
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