Working on the Compaq Lunchbox

I worked on the Marine Corps Supply system (ATLAS 1.0) – actually helped design the very first version and implemented a lot of the core transaction code and UI. The program was written completely in Ada using the AdaSage API suite from a contracting firm in Idaho named INEL. Why am I writing about this? Well, every now and then I think about how easy and hard programming has been through the years. When I worked on this system I was pretty much the low guy on the totem pole and had to go and check full system compiles at midnight to see if anything broke. You see, back then the few million lines of code took almost 13 hours to compile. We would set the compile off at the end of the day and hope nothing broke by the next morning. While this was a very portable PC it weighed a lot, can not quite remember how much; yet we took them everywhere to code on.


This “Lunchbox” style portable came with a 286 processor, 640K of RAM and a 30 Mb hard drive. It also had a parallel port, RGB monitor port and serial port. It was much smaller and easier to carry than Compaq’s early portables.

Computer Museum

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