Letters-General Questions Answered
Woz: Your story is one
just like my own life, learning by seeing and modifying and having technical
skills. With a couple of years difference you could have started Apple,
clearly. You are so lucky to have the old equipment. I can hardly believe
that you actually have an Apple I. I got rid of a lot of my old stuff
because it was taking up 4 storage lockers, and I've regretted it ever
since. I had about every Apple ][ program and peripheral ever up until
e-mail: When Apple moved from the Apple ][ line to the Mac line,
where and why was the decision to move to a closed architecture? I thought
that Apple suitors were the hobbyist and as such would have more of a
hardware/software development contribution... In reflection on programming
graphics with peek and poke, I was wondering why an interpreted language
rather than a compiled language was developed. Was this the Microsoft
DEC BASIC vs. Woz HP BASIC approach we discussed previously?
Woz: The closed architecture was in line with attempts to bring computers down to less technical people. Does the phrase "for the rest of us" ring a bell. Although that phrase referred to the way the software worked, there was a strong feeling that some people were turned off by too much visible technology. There might have been personal reasons within Apple to minimize the technology aspect, since the technology emphasis came largely from me and not the other Apple execs. I don't feel that it was a good or needed thing to restrict access like this. Even the designers wanted more access and at least a "test" port but Steve Jobs nixed that.
I'd never written a computer language or studied writing one. I'd also never used BASIC, only FORTRAN and ALGOL and a number of machine languages. But it was clear that BASIC was the best language for an early home computer because of the ease of learning and using it and the many games available in BASIC. So I pulled out an HP manual and wrote my syntax diagrams based on that. It was a little different, mainly with strings, than the DEC BASIC.
I always understood that FORTRAN
could be compiled but BASIC was an interpreted language. It's late and
I'm not sure why BASIC has to be interpreted but an easy language for
small programs is quicker to use when you can enter new lines and run
them right away without compiling. It also takes less RAM. We didn't even
have a floppy disk then.
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