* * * "QL & Mac are 25" international event - the show 2009 * * *

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Added: July 1st 2009 | Last updated: Dec 12th 2010 (Content), June 4th 2017 (Broken Links & Formatting fixed)

Event announcement pages (pre event)

Before we start

Lucerne, December 30th 2009 – 2009 was the year of the 25th anniversary of breaking innovations in personal computing. Early 1984 two milestones were unfolded on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Europe was first with the launch of the 32-bit multitasking/multiwindowing Sinclair QL. 12 days later America saw the launch of the 32-bit GUI/multiwindowing Apple Macintosh. They both entered the field to compete with IBM's PC.

While the Mac did it in the long run and is a mainstream product in the present and future, the QL went into dust. Before leaving the field, the QL inspired many experts and influenced today's products in one way or another. Most prominent example is Linux, where its creator Linus Torvalds was a QL hacker back in the 80s. To learn more about all that please follow the full 25th anniversary story.

On July 1st 2009 it was announced here that the 25th anniversary of the QL & Mac will be celebrated with an international 2 days show in autumn 2009. The event was promoted in mailings-lists, news-groups, specialist magazines, YouTube and even on the radio.

Click on picture above to watch the teaser videos promoting the "QL & Mac are 25" show (offsite-link).

In a nutshell

As one of the many anniversary activities the "QL & Mac are 25" international event took place on Oct 31st/Nov 1st 2009 in the Verkehrshaus, Lucerne, Switzerland.

The Verkehrshaus in Lucerne is the Swiss Transport Museum (offsite-link).

Some 50 people attended the show. Visitors came from the UK, Austria, Germany, Holland and Switzerland. 20 people joined the 25th anniversary dinner which took place in Lucernes Bistro du Théâtre on Saturday eve. Pictures of both preparation and setup are accessible here (set 1). Photos of the two days event can be found here (set 2).

Click on picture above to watch the highlights of the "QL & Mac are 25" show (offsite-link).


In the conference room a total of 8 sessions and talks covering "QL & Mac early days", "innovation & design then and now", "current Mac OS X (Mac/iPhone), Windows, AMIGA and QL developments", ... and in the welcome session introductory keynotes by "VIP" were held! Photos of the sessions are accessible here (set 2).

All sessions have been filmed with a Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ7 camera. The raw video footage needed some brush up (both audio and video noise reduction, audio volume increase) and a final cut. This took much more human and processing time than expected. All session videos have now been uploaded to YouTube for public audience. Enjoy more than 5 hours of video footage!

Click on picture above to watch all videos of the "QL & Mac are 25" show (offsite-link).

You are kindly invited to download the presentations in both Microsoft PowerPoint and Adobe Acrobat formats. In addition you can watch related videos on YouTube. Follow the links in the table below.

ID What Speaker Downloads and Streaming
Saturday Oct 31st 2009

Welcome & Keynote
This was much more than just welcome. Like a time traveller Urs has been introducing the QL community, the Verkehrshaus, the city of Lucerne, 1959, 1969, 1979, Sir Clive Sinclair, the early 80's in micro computing and finally 1984 - the year of the QL and Macintosh's launch - in particular. In introductory keynotes by "VIP" Steve Jobs and Sir Clive Sinclair spread the word. Then Urs gave details on the event. Finally there was an outlook what's up NeXT for Apple, Sinclair, Microsoft and the QL community.
Urs König & "VIP" PPT or PDF
35 slides

3 playlists as used in the session (offsite-link).

Apple Mac OS X, "The Mac "died" nine years ago!"
A talk on the origins of the Mac, the NeXT and how they came together. Another topic is "How to become a Mac Indie developer?" covering Mailplane, the Mac OS X application which brings Gmail to your Mac desktop.
Ruben Bakker PPT or PDF
83 slides

Playlist used in the session (offsite-link).

Sinclair QL, "the Mac that never was..."
The story of how things started, developed, got launched and what happened to the innovations and innovators of both the QL and Mac.
Urs König PPT or PDF
47 slides

Playlist "The QL story" related to the session (offsite-link).

AmigaOS4.1, "still improving..."
A session covering the updated OS of another 68k-computer from the 80's, the AMIGA.
Anton Preinsack PPT or PDF
13 slides
Sunday Nov 1st 2009

"The Quantum Leap innovation & design process in retrospective..."
Instead of the projected session covering the highs and lows of the Sinclair QL design and development process and its premature launch in 1984, we showed on screen the 2009 BBC docudrama Micro Men which covered not only the QL's but also the history of the Sinclair ZX80, ZX81, ZX Spectrum, C5 and the Acorn BBC and Electron micro computers.
Alexander Armstrong as Sir Clive Sinclair, Martin Freeman as Chris Curry Micro Men - the 2009 BBC docudrama
Playlist "Micro Men" which in facts is what the session was all about (offsite-link).

Launchpad, "the complete desktop GUI for QDOS/SMSQ"
A session demoing Launchpad and other QL applications on both Q-emuLator (Windows, Mac OS) and QPC2 (Windows).
Dilwyn Jones Link to Launchpad webpage (HTML)
Launchpad webpage

Windows 7, "what the world got on Oct 22nd 2009?"
Presentation and live demo of the brand-new Microsoft Windows 7 by an experienced early adopter. Covering both user experience and technical issues.
Markus Limacher PPT or PDF
13 slides

SMSQ/E and QPC, "the core of the virtual QL environment..."
A session covering SMSQ/E and QPC2, their sources (hot spots), development tools & process (including a live compilation of the OS) and future prospects.
Marcel Kilgus PPT or PDF
29 slides


In the conference, software workshop & exhibition rooms there were 16 retro systems (microcomputer milestones from the 80s, not only QL & Mac) on display.

16 systems on exhibition The Sinclair QL, world first 32-bit multitasking/multiwindowing personal computer Apple Macintosh, 32-bit GUI/multiwindowing personal computer Sinclair's 1987 Cambridge Z88 compared to Apple's 1989 Macintosh Portable

The systems are listed in the table below. Once again photos of the exhibition are accessible here (set 2).

ID Machine Year launched On display
1 Apple III 1980 complete system consisting of computer with floppy disk drive and screen, hard disk drive
2 Sinclair ZX81 1981 system consisting of computer, screen, software, guides and books
3 Sinclair ZX Spectrum 1982 complete system consisting of computer, interface one, microdrive storage system, screen, software, guides and books
4 Commodore 64 (C64) 1982 system consisting of computer, tape recorder, floppy disk drive, guides and books
5 Sinclair QL rare bits and pieces 1983,1984 Sinclair ZX-83 prototype pcb (iss 2), Sinclair ROM-Dongle - the infamous unsightly kludge, Sinclair QL uncut pcb (iss 5), GST 68K/OS alternative OS add-on card
6 Sinclair QL 1984 one of the last QL's made in the UK (build standard D16)
7 Apple Macintosh 1984 one of the few still existing in Switzerland
8 ICL One Per Desk (OPD) 1984 complete system consisting of computer, screen, software, guides and books
9 Sinclair QL (German edition) 1985 complete system consisting of computer (build standard SG18), Sinclair badged floppy disk drive, screen, printer, software and guides, some books
10 Apple Macintosh Plus (German edition) 1986 complete system consisting of computer with floppy disk drive and screen, printer and software
11 CST Thor 21 1987 core unit only
12 CST Thor XVI 1987 complete system consisting of computer with floppy disk drive, screen and software
13 ATARI ST 1985 complete system consisting of computer with floppy disk drive, screen, software, guides and books
14 Commodore AMIGA 1985 complete system consisting of computer with floppy disk drive, screen, guides and books
15 Cambridge Z88 1987 complete system consisting of computer and user guide
16 Apple Macintosh Portable 1989 core unit only

Also on display was the huge PowerPoint presentation "History of the QL" by Dilwyn and Iwan Jones (74 slides, uncompressed size 140MB). Download it as PPT or PDF or even watch it converted to a video:

Software workshops

Between the sessions people either visited the museum or enjoyed QL tinkering. Again photos are accessible here (set 2).

Click on picture above to watch videos of some of software played with in the software workshops of the "QL & Mac are 25" show (offsite-link).

The software used in the workshops is not yet available for download.

QL projects for 2010

At the show two QL projects to be completed in 2010 were presented and discussed.
  • Q-emuLator for Mac OS X. This, together with version 3.0 for Windows, has been released on October 30th 2010 by Daniele Terdina! Q-emuLator for Windows and Mac OS X (offsite-link).
  • 68K/OS resurrected. Despite rejected by Sinclair Research, 68K/OS written by GST is the original OS design for the Sinclair QL. This, together with all other GST written QL software, has been released into public domain on July 9th 2010! GST written QL software is public domain now!


    Tony Firshman, Dilwyn Jones and Anton Preinsack have reported on the show in QL Today (V14I2), QUANTA (V26I6) and AMIGA FUTURE (Issue 82) magazines. You can download the AMIGA FUTURE article in both German and English on the QL 25th anniversary web & media coverage page.

    In QL Today magazine V14I3 Urs König presented in-depth some specific QL issues which were part of the show. Pictures which were used in those articles can be found here (set 3). As the magazines were laser printed in BW, high resolution colour pictures are helpful. The articles published in QL Today are not yet available online.

    Coming "soon" (in QL terms)

  • "QL & Mac are 25" - the DVD. A DVD full with all presentations (both ppt and pdf), software and videos of the show. This is quite a project. There's an open decision to realise it or let it be. It all depends on your feedback. What's your opinion?
  • "QL & Mac are 25" - the software downloads. It's still lurking on QDOS formatted 3.5" floppy disks and needs to be put on a more open file system for distribution.
  • "QL & Mac are 25" - the QUANTA and QL Today articles online. Need to scan and pimp them some day...
    Update: All this can be found on QL IS 30 2014 - THE DISTRIBUTION which can be found in the Repository.

    Personal summary

    The show was just one - but the most time consuming - of my activities in the "QL is 25" bash. An international QL show like this was something I always wanted to do. Due to the change in my work/life balance in 2009 I was finally able to do it.

    Overall I must say that I'm very happy with the happening.

    Please keep always in mind: QL forever!

    25 years and still inspiring

    BTW: On June 5th 2010 there was the 2010 international QL show in Prottes, Austria (near Vienna)! There's a QL Shows Picture Gallery of many more QL shows from the 80's until today.

    Click on picture above to watch the video made by Anton Preinsack of the "2010 international QL show" (offsite-link).

    Site produced and copyright (c): 1999-2017, Urs König

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