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Tracing the History of the Computer - IBM DisplayWriter System


The IBM Displaywriter System was a dedicated microcomputer-based word processing machine that IBM's Office Products Division introduced in 1980. The system consisted of a central processing unit in a desktop cabinet (similar to that of the IBM PC), a black-and-white CRT monitor atop the CPU, a detached keyboard, a detached dual disk drive that used 8-inch floppy disks, and a detached daisy wheel printer. The system booted from an 8-inch floppy disk that stored UCSD p-System operating system and IBM's internally developed word processing software. The operator stored the "documents" (i.e., data files) on additional diskettes.

The Displaywriter's features were comparable to other dedicated word processing machines of its era. The features included mail-merge, with fields designated as a01, a02, a03, etc. Elementary arithmetic could be applied to the fields. The Displaywriter's word processing software was later ported to the IBM PC and to larger IBM computing platforms as DisplayWrite.

The basic IBM Displaywriter was a standalone system. An optional central storage and management unit was available, which permitted multiple Displaywriters to share storage and a printer.



History of Word Processors



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