Computer Dictionary/Digital Equipment Corporation
Before the killer micro revolution of the late 1980s, hackerdom was closely symbiotic with DEC's pioneering time-sharing machines. The first of the group of hacker cultures nucleated around the PDP-1 (see TMRC). Subsequently, the PDP-6, PDP-10, PDP-20, PDP-11 and VAX were all foci of large and important hackerdoms, and DEC machines long dominated the ARPANET and Internet machine population.
DEC was the technological leader of the minicomputer era (roughly 1967 to 1987), but its failure to embrace microcomputers and Unix early cost it heavily in profits and prestige after silicon got cheap. However, the microprocessor design tradition owes a heavy debt to the PDP-11 instruction set, and every one of the major general-purpose microcomputer operating systems so far (CP/M, MS-DOS, Unix, OS/2) were either genetically descended from a DEC OS, or incubated on DEC hardware or both. Accordingly, DEC is still regarded with a certain wry affection even among many hackers too young to have grown up on DEC machines. The contrast with IBM is instructive.
Quarterly sales $3923M, profits -$1746M (Aug 1994).
DEC was taken over by Compaq Computer Corporation in 1998.
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