* * * Sinclair QL 25th anniversary (1984 to 2009)! * * *

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Added: January 12th 2009 | Last updated: December 30th 2009 (Content), June 4th 2017 (Broken Links & Formatting fixed)

A story of what it takes to innovate...

Sinclair QL 25th anniversary 1984-2009 – 25 years of innovation... A story of what it takes to innovate... by Urs König (aka QLvsJAGUAR), Director Technologies, PC-WARE Systems (Schweiz) AG
Check out the 25th anniversary presentation... (offsite-link)

On January 12th 1984 Sir Clive Sinclair presented the Sinclair QL Professional Computer in a Hollywood-style launch event at the Intercontinental Hotel, Hyde Park Corner, London. This was exactly 12 days earlier than Steve Jobs presented the Apple Macintosh.


Click on picture above to view a playlist of short videos telling you the QL story 1982 to 1986 (offsite-link).

Today, 25 years later we congratulate and celebrate the 25th birthday of the Sinclair QL!

25 years and still inspiring

The QL still is a very good example of an innovative, stylish, powerful but underestimated product. On one hand it failed in the market in the long run but on the other it influenced many developments which ended in today’s products. At least in seven aspects the QL was a real Quantum Leap:

1. First 32-bit micro for both home and office use (Motorola 68000 series CPU).

2. First PC with preemptive multitasking operating system with linear addressing. Windows and Mac OS offered those important features only years to decades later. The QL could run hundreds of jobs in parallel.

3. First PC with bundled Office suite offering word processing, spreadsheet, business graphics and database (PSION XCHANGE).

4. First PC with a highly integrated two chip North-/Southbridge. IBM and Apple were still using dozens of standard chips in their micros.

5. Innovative and timeless industrial design (case, motherboard and keyboard), Sony’s PlayStation 2 or some later Apple designs (e.g. Apple Keyboard) look very similar.

6. Innovative SuperBASIC Programming Language for Rapid Application Development (RAD), years later Microsoft’s Visual Basic closed the gap.

7. Even only around 150’000 QL’s were made and sold, one user became very important to the industry. Linus Torvalds used and programmed a QL before he created what became Linux. Read a NewsGroup message thread of Linus on the QL dated 1992...


Click on the picture above to view how Linus Torvalds early software (dated 1986) is performing on an original Sinclair QL and how Linus reminds his QL days...(offsite-link).

Happy 25th anniversary and QL forever!

Urs König (aka QLvsJAGUAR)

Urs König's "QL is 25" mailbox


Interested? Want to know more or try it out? Check this out...

  • PPTCheck out the 25th anniversary presentation (more than 1300 downloads in 2009)...

  • Try QPC, a virtual QL running under Windows (more than 460 downloads in 2009)...
    Update: Above link points to the outdated 2007 version of QPC. You better get the lastest 2017 version - which is part of THE DISTRIBUTION and QL/E - in the Repository.
  • PDFAn academic QL case study by the Open University, published in 1986, 54 pages (78 downloads in 2009)...

  • The QL-Users mailing list keeps you informed...

    Feedback received...

    ...I do remember the Sheraton Skyline event for partners though, precariously set up around the hotel swimming pool with everyone (including me) in total awe of the Sinclair Illuminati! And all this, years ahead of MacWorld.

    Richard Miller, San Jose, January 2009
    ...So here we are, twenty five years and one day later, and I'm writing a shout-out to the QL anyway. It was odd, and it was flaky to the point of being the only machine I had to do hardware surgery on to make stable and useful, but I guess I was at an impressionable age. And while I don't think there were many QL's that ever made it outside Britain, it was an interesting machine for its time.
    Linus Torvalds (Linux) on the QL Linus Torvalds, January 2009
    I got one of the fruit company's 68k machines not long after the QL as an advance from my publishers and used it (running MacWrite 1.0) for my two QL books (one of which is quoted on the wikipedia page!) and wrote assembly language code for both platforms. My University 3rd year project was a debugger for the QL and I wrote an assembler too, which eventually turned into HiSoft Devpac for the QL, Atari ST and CBM Amiga once I got a proper job. So I guess I can thank the QL for my decades of work in the development tools field.
    Andrew Pennell of Microsoft
    Andrew Pennell, January 2009
    Thanks for your email reminding us of this anniversary. You may be interested to know that in our upcoming April issue (on sale on 19th Feb), we have an exclusive interview with David Karlin, plus we've reprinted a complete facsimile of PCW's original 7-page review of the Sinclair QL from 1984.
    Personal Computer World, Britains no. 1 ICT-magazine Kelvyn Taylor, Editor, PCW, February 2009
    We are producing a drama/documentary about Sinclair for the BBC. In it we would like to use the ad that you have on your website. We would have to clear with the ad agency etc obvioulsy but I wonder if what format you have the original ad on? We are struggling to locate a good copy of the ad.
    BBC, Micro Men (fka Syntax Era) Paul Gardner, Head of Archive, Darlow Smithson Productions Ltd., January 2009
    Die britische Firma Psion (Potter Scientific Instruments Or Nothing) – nicht von Harry, sondern von Sir David Potter – kommt aus der magischen Versenkung und reklamiert den Begriff Netbook für sich, gab es doch im Jahre 2001 schon ein „Psion netbook“. Psion hatte sich schon vor Urzeiten mit Software für die Kleincomputer des Ritterkollegen Sir Clive Sinclair einen Namen gemacht, dessen legendärer QL (mit 68008-Prozessor) gerade dieser Tage seinen 25. Geburtstag feiert.
    c't, Deutschlands führendes Computermagazin Andreas Stiller, January 2009
    Thank you very much for the enthusiastic letter, and presentation book of the QL computer' anniversary, which we truly value. Sir Clive appreciated your feed back was glad you were one of the young engineers who were helped to develop the "products of your dreams" through Sinclair computers. ...May we wish you every success with your collection.
    Sinclair Research Ltd. Elaine Millar, Director, Sinclair Research Ltd., April 2009
    Ihre Erinnerungen an die grosse Zeit der ersten grafischen Betriebsssystem-Interfaces, preemptives Multitasking und leichter adressierbarem 32-Bit-Speicher, nicht wie der 640-KB-Murx von IBM.... Besten Dank für die schönen Erinnerungen! Ich erlebte etwa 1984 an der ETH einmal Tesler von Apple mit einem der allerersten Mac's... Berstend voller Hörsaal, ich sass (damals 41) am Boden ganz vorne.
    Bruno Stanek, expert in astronatics and space Bruno Stanek, June 2009

    Web & media coverage...

    QL 25th anniversary web coverageVarious authors
    Click on globe picture to get a linked list of the QL 25th anniversary web & media coverage.

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