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F > FORTUNE > 32:16   


When the 32:16 was launched, Fortune Systems Corp. advertised that it was the first integrated Unix-based system for $5000. Actually, the cheaper version was a single floppy disc, single user system that was never sold. A practical small business multiuser configuation, called System 10, and including a 10 MB hard disk and 512 KB of RAM costed about $9000.

The system could support up to 4 four-port serial terminal controllers and several other peripheral controllers: storage modules, Parallel interfaces, high resolution graphic board and Ethernet network board. The keyboard was a close cousin of the Wang word-processing system one. Keys was well arranged and color coded. The system came with different hard-disk storage options, 5, 10, 20 or even 70 MB on latest models.

The Fortune 32:16 was a true multiuser multitasking Unix based system offering services that was a length ahead over CP/M's. However, both Unix and Fortune was new to most of the dealers and users. Fortune offered them training courses in hardware, operating system and application software.

A wide range of high quality business application software was available, as well as programming languages, like a very extended BASIC able to convert code written in other BASICs (AppleSoft, MBASIC, CBASIC, TRS-80 BASIC), PASCAL, FORTRAN 77, COBOL and, of course, C language.

The 32:16 was also built and sold in France by Thomson under the name of Micromega 32

Special thanks to fortune who donated us this computer !



I worked for Fortune Systems from 1983 to 1985. Worked in the testing group. The machine was certainly ahead of its time.

Tuesday 17th August 2010
Trish Millines (USA)

I was a contractor for Fortune Systems, translating error messages, usage messages, man pages, and the newest trend, menus, into German. They let me have one to use, so that''s how I learned Unix, setting up and administering a desktop server and learning what not to do by means of the thousands of error messages I translated. That was one cool machine.

Friday 6th August 2010
Kim (USA)

My forward-looking parents bought a Fortune 32:!6 in 1983 to run their small business. I was 18 years old and became their system manager, and also did some custom programming for them in Informix and Business BASIC. We also got good use out of For:Word, which was really advanced WP software for its time. I put together a pretty good little system for them that they used for years.

I think one of the scheduling programs I wrote in BASIC was in use until about 1994, when we could no longer get service and finally had to replace it with a custom 4D app running on a Mac.

I recall buying a 20MB hard disk for about $5,000, and an extra dumb terminal for something like $2000. The whole shebang cost over $15,000, which was serious coin in those days. But we got our money''s worth out of it, and I learned C and Unix along with Informix. Very useful skills at the time, and I am still benefitting from my Unix command line knowledge on my luscious new MacBook.

I still have the computer and a bunch of accessories and software. It hasn''t been started in at least 15 years.

Thursday 10th February 2011
Chris May (US)


NAME  32:16
TYPE  Professional Computer
ORIGIN  United Kingdom
YEAR  1982
KEYBOARD  Full-stroke 99 keys with numeric keypad and 16 function keys
CPU  Motorola 68000
SPEED  6 Mhz
RAM  from 256 KB, to 2 MB (4 x 256 KB + 1 MB)
ROM  unknown
TEXT MODES  80 chars. x 24 lines
GRAPHIC MODES  optional High resolution graphic card
COLORS  Monochrome
SOUND  Beeper
SIZE / WEIGHT  Total system weight : 24 Kgs
I/O PORTS  External hard-disk unit, Serial RS232 (up to 16), monochrome display
BUILT IN MEDIA  One or two 5''1/4 800 KB FDD - Hard disk from 5 to 70 MB - optional tape unit
OS  Berkeley BSD 4.1 Unix
POWER SUPPLY  Built-in power supply unit
PERIPHERALS  External hard disk, cartridge tape,
PRICE  from $5000 to about $15000 according to hardware configuration

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