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F > FORTUNE > 32:16


This mini forum is intended to provide a simple means of discussion about the Fortune 32:16 computer. If you want to share your own experience or memories, or add relevant information about this system: post a message!

  Click Here to add a message in the forum


Tuesday 17th August 2010
Trish Millines (USA)

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

Friday 6th August 2010
Kim (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.

Thursday 10th February 2011
Chris May (US)

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.

Tuesday 5th February 2019
Martin How (United Kingdom)

I bought one of these in 1983/4 to replace an IBM 5110. It was my first UNIX experience. I learned to program in C using Informix and the C integration library to batch process and add event code it Perfrom forms. We had a 40Mb disk and an extra SCSI disk and expansion cabinet with a serial port expander for 8 people. PSUs were a bit flakey with the caps blowing up, but we quickly learned to pull the plug at the first sound of fizzing on start up.

We replaced it in 1989 with an Acer Altos running SCO System. Mostly the business runs MS but we still run some UNIX today.

For fun i now programme and build hardware for the raspberry Pi still using to old skills gained on the Fortune 32:16

Friday 22nd June 2018
Tony Piacente (United States)

I worked for Fortune Systems Corp. in the early 80''s as a Systems Engineer, afterwards becoming their largest distributor and reseller in the U.S. as UniSoft, Inc. and later UniConcepts Corp. in the Denver, CO area. What a fun ride that was! I can still troubleshoot any of the hardware or For:Pro (Unix) issues to this day. What made our company so valuable was our expertise with BAS software. Please feel free to reach out on this topic

Tuesday 23rd January 2018
Tom Brown (Denver, CO)

I went to a "computer" show in Atlanta in the early 80s and was looking to buy something to help with word processing and accounting in a small tour business. An IBM Selectric typewriter was the hot ticket then. I was about to buy a Vector Graphics C/PM system when I saw the Fortune 32:26 and thought it was awesome. I didn''t even know the difference between hardware and software! We bought a 32:16 (later adding two more terminals) and used it for many years. We also got a relational database package called Rubix, and it was great! I learned Unix and Shell script programming and eventually built quite an extensive reservations and accounting system. This was about the time the Apple IIc came out and I thought that was useless junk. What did I know?

Tuesday 23rd January 2018
Tom Brown (Denver, CO)

Greg, are you offering to sell your system? If so, how much? I''d love to pound the keys on a 32:26 again.

Monday 24th April 2017
Steve (United States)

This was the first Unix system I ever worked with. I found it in a lab at my University and started teaching myself Unix.

The school saw what I was doing on my own time and hired me as a system administrator for their new Sun-2 as a freshman.

My how time has flown. Most people have forgotten all about the Fortune if they ever knew about it at all.

Tuesday 21st June 2016
Rick (Washington DC)

I worked for a Fortune reseller in Alexandria, VA installing and servicing 32:16''s all over the DC/VA/MD area in 1985-86. I loved these computers! Very reliable and perfect for small-medium businesses. I had never touched a UNIX OS and learned it on these machines. Wish I had the chance to work on one of them again for old times sake.

Sunday 10th April 2016
James Bertsch (United States)

I was a software developer for a fledgling Value Added Reseller of Fortune Computers. I taught myself Unix and C. I wrote applications, which read EDI Orders sent over a modem from GM, Ford and Chrysler to suppliers.
The documents, were then printed for the suppliers so they could fill the orders.

Sunday 8th February 2015
Hoth (San Jose, Ca, USA)

Wow, what a blast from the past. My father, "the heavy accented Hungarian", worked at Fortune as a Director or Manager when I was in high school in the mid 80''s. We had a computer which I typed many school essays, played Rogue and Star Trek on the UNIX platform. Learned a lot and my neighbor had an Atatri 400 where I learned BASIC. My father worked many long hours, frequently coming home past 8:00$ he was very upset when it folded and alluded that someone high up stole funds and drove it into the ground. Wild coming across this site.

Monday 19th November 2012
John Powell (Usa)

I worked at Fortune in the early ''80s. it was a wild place to work, very challenging. I was in the board test department and thought it would always be about the hardware and didn''t pay much attention to the software. I guess that''s why I''m still working for a living!

Tuesday 13rd March 2012
Oscar (San Diego, CA)

I was sales manager for the Byte Shop NorthWest in the early 80''s and we were selling Apple, Atari and IBM mostly at the time. We checked out a Fortune 32:16 to decide whether to add it to our mix but decided against it.

Thursday 13rd October 2011
Chuck (USA)

I believe that Fortune set up manufacturing in an old Pepsi bottling plant in San Carlos or Redwood City.

The software people in Fortune had an almost incestuous relationship with the people at Sun. Certainly Bill Joy had a definite presence at both places.

I did some contract programming for them around 1981 or so$ I still have the prototype of one of their terminals.

Friday 10th June 2011
Allen Grabert

I was a year out of college in 1983 when I began working for Bunker Ramo, providing support on a project they had at the time to create a banking software system based on the Fortune 32:16 and a proprietary LAN. They also wanted to be a general reseller of the machine, so one of my ongoing support tasks was to modify Fortune''s software products to change any references to Fortune to equivalent references to Bunker Ramo. Because this was time-consuming, my boss let me take one of these machines home$ while the conversion script was running in the background, I was playing "rogue"! However, just over a year after I started, Bunker Ramo apparently decided that they didn''t want to be a reseller, so I was moved into one of their programming groups.

Saturday 4th September 2010
Robert Oppenheim (Texas, USA)

Back in the early 1980''s I worked for a small agency whose owner had some big ideas that her Apple II couldn''t handle. She sent me to shop for "the computer that will take us into the future". Needless to say, the emerging office PC market (hardware and software) had limited choices back then. But when I saw and tested the Fortune 32:16, I knew this was what we needed. It came with Informix and Fortune:Word and Multiplan as well as an accounting package. The real dilemma at the time was whether to get the 10 or the 20 MB hard drive. We got the 20 and wondered how we would ever fill it up. Everything I learned about Unix and RDBMS, I learned first on this machine. Seeing these photos and reading others'' similar sentiments makes me remember fondly about the good old days when today''s madness all got started.

Tuesday 18th August 2009
Eric Hammond (USA)
Eric Hammond

I learned Unix in 1985 on a Fortune 32:16 as a contractor to Proctor and Gamble, Cincinnati, Ohio. I had been hired to administer and program it as a summer job. I picked up the manual and read it cover to cover, twice. It turns out that the "manual" was a hardcopy of all of the manpages in alphabetical order by command name, so the first time through I was missing some concepts that made more sense the second time through. If I recall correctly, the documentation came in the form of two 3-ring binders.

Sunday 23rd March 2008
Chris Elliott (Leicester, UK)

30 meg HD, 3/4 meg RAM - 8 users!

Informix Database, Fortune:Word & Spreadsheet


Also the most honest manual entry I've ever seen.

Error XYZ - "If you get this, the main eprom has shuffelled off this mortal coil"

Saturday 8th December 2007
Karen (USA)

Good old Fortune. Their systems were quite the thing back in my day of selling multiuser systems. One thing about the Fortunes (at least our experience), was that they never, never went down. One solid reliable system. I still have one that I haven't touched in years. My guess is that if I dusted the old thing off and plugged it in, it would fire up.

Sunday 19th June 2005
Greg Mote (Los Angeles, CA, USA)

I have a 32:16 with a bad power supply. It has been in my dad's garage for years. Anyone interested in it?

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