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Data General

(Data General Corporation, Westboro, MA) One of the first minicomputer companies, founded in 1968 by Edson de Castro, Henry Burkhardt and Richard Sogge, all former employees of Digital Equipment Corporation, and Herbert Richman, formerly of Fairchild Semiconductor. De Castro and Sogge designed Digital's PDP-5 and PDP-8 product lines, while Burkhardt headed the programming for the machines.

In 1969, Data General introduced the Nova, the first 16-bit minicomputer with four accumulators, a leading technology at the time. During its early years, the company was successful in the scientific, academic and OEM markets. With its 32-bit ECLIPSE family of computers and its Comprehensive Electronic Office (CEO) software, Data General gained entry into the commercial marketplace in the early 1980s.

In subsequent years, Data General switched from proprietary hardware to Motorola and then Intel-based computers with its AViiON line, running Windows NT and its own version of Unix (DG/UX). The CLARiiON line of RAID storage systems was introduced in the early 1990s. In 1999, EMC acquired the company and continued to promote the CLARiiON products.

The "Eagle project," Data General's development of its ECLIPSE and first 32-bit computer, was chronicled in Tracy Kidder's Pulitzer-prize winning novel, "Soul of a New Machine," published by Little, Brown and Company, ISBN 0-316-49170-5. See Data General One and EMC.

Edson de Castro
De Castro's Novas helped expand the market for "low-priced" computers (under USD $100,000, that is). Minicomputers were expected to make mainframes obsolete. (Image courtesy of Data General Corporation.)

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