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|Fate||Sold (European division Cromemco AG still in business)|
Cromemco was a Mountain View, California microcomputer company known for its high-end Z80-based S-100 bus computers in the early days of the home computer revolution. The Cromemco Dazzler was the first color graphics card available for personal computers.
The company began as a partnership in 1974 between Harry Garland and Roger Melen, two Stanford PhD students. The company was named for their residence at Stanford University, Cro(thers) Mem(orial), a Stanford dormitory reserved for engineering graduate students. Cromemco was incorporated in 1976.
The first computer released by Cromemco was the Z-1 in August 1976. The Z-1 came with 8K of static RAM and used the same chassis as the IMSAI 8080 but featured the Z80 microprocessor rather than the IMSAI computer's Intel 8080 chip. The Z-1 was succeeded by the Z-2 in June 1977, which featured 64K of RAM and the ability to run CDOS, a variant of the CP/M operating system. The Z-2 also added a parallel interface in addition to an RS-232C serial port and no longer included the large panel of switches that had been part of the Z-1 model.
Cromemco re-packaged their systems to produce the System One, followed by the larger System Two and System Three. The System Three, announced in 1978 was capable of running both FORTRAN IV and Z80 BASIC programming languages. The System Three was designed for multiuser professional use and included an optional hard disk, CRT terminal, printer and the main computer unit. In 1979, Cromemco released CROMIX, the first Unix-like operating system for microcomputers. CROMIX initially ran on the System Three and would later run on Cromemco systems using the Motorola 68K family of microprocessors.
In 1982, Cromemco introduced their 100-series of Unix machines, based on the Motorola 68000 family instead of the Intel 8080/Z80. The original CS100 was packaged in a relatively small case, while the CS200 was based on the larger Z-family case using MC68010, and the 400 was in a PC-style tower case with either the 68010 or 68020.
At its peak in 1983, Cromemco employed over 500 people and had annual revenues of US$55 million. The company was wholly owned by Garland and Melen until it was sold to Dynatech in 1987 as a supplier to their ColorGraphics Weather Systems subsidiary. The European division of Cromemco reorganized as Cromemco AG and is still in business.
The Software Update Service was a fee based subscription offering. Subscribers obtained software updates, usually on 5.25 or 8 inch diskette, together with a comprehensive update reference.
Eminent Cromemco Personnel
- Dr Harry Garland - President of Cromemco
- Dr Egon Zakrajsek - author of Cromix Plus
- Ed Lupin - XXU Card Designer
- Herb Lewis - Senior Engineer at Cromemco
- Leigh Thomas - writer of Cromix a Users Guide
- Professor Roger Melen - Cromemco cofounder
- Richard Moore - Chief Executive officer Cromemco
- Roger Sippl and Laura King - who built ISAM and Report Writer as Cromemco employees, and left to Informix
- Roy Harrington - writer of Z80 Cromix
- Cromemco Z-1
- Cromemco Z-2
- Cromemco C-10
- Cromemco SCC
- Cromemco System Zero
- Cromemco System One
- Cromemco System Two
- Cromemco System Three
- Cromemco System CS100
- Cromemco System CS200
- Cromemco System CS300
- Cromemco System CS400
- Versions of Cromemco Software
- Cromemco Z-1 Monitor
- Cromemco Z-80 Monitor
- Cromemco CDOS version 1
- Cromemco CDOS version 2
- RDOS Initialisation and Bootstrapping Program
- Z80 Cromix
- Cromemco 68010 Cromix Administrators Guide
- XDOS Diagnostic and Bootstrap program for XXU
- V5.2 UNIX
- Stanford University: "Cromemco History" page. The beginnings...
- Marcus Bennett: "Cromemco Treasure Trove". Downloadable Cromemco S-100 Photos, Manuals, & Cromemco CDOS and Cromix software.
- Cromemco Z-1 brochure (circa 1976).
- "Cromemco Z-2D" (circa 1977) Zilog Z80, S-100 computer.
- "Cromemco System One" Motorola 68000, picture & specs (circa 1982).
- Another view of the "Cromemco System One".
- The compact "Cromemco System Zero" 6-slot S-100 computer.
- "Cromemco C-10SP" review from Creative Computing magazine, January 1984.
- "Cromemco C-10" personal computer photograph, specs, & advertisement (circa 1982).
- "Cromemco CS-100 & CS-300" computers (circa 1984–1985).
- "Cromemco CS-250" (circa 1990), Motorola MC68020, S-100 computer.
- "Cromemco CS-250" (circa 1990) Maxtor 190MB ST506 MFM hard-drive.
- "Comprehensive Cromemco Part Number Xref" S-100 Systems, Boards, Peripherals, & Manuals (Hardware & Software).
- Digibarn Cromemco Systems
- Dave's Old Computers, pictures, disk images and manuals.
- Early Hard Drive Ads
- X:\static\S100\cromemco, software and various documents
- The only CPU card to give you 4MHz speed
- CROMIX Cromemco's outstanding UNIX like operating system