Discovering Eastern European PCs by hacking them. Today

by   Stefano Bodrato, et al.

Computer science would not be the same without personal computers. In the West the so called PC revolution started in the late '70s and has its roots in hobbyists and do-it-yourself clubs. In the following years the diffusion of home and personal computers has made the discipline closer to many people. A bit later, to a lesser extent, yet in a similar way, the revolution took place also in East European countries. Today, the scenario of personal computing has completely changed, however the computers of the '80s are still objects of fascination for a number of retrocomputing fans who enjoy using, programming and hacking the old 8-bits. The paper highlights the continuity between yesterday's hobbyists and today's retrocomputing enthusiasts, particularly focusing on East European PCs. Besides the preservation of old hardware and software, the community is engaged in the development of emulators and cross compilers. Such tools can be used for historical investigation, for example to trace the origins of the BASIC interpreters loaded in the ROMs of East European PCs.



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