The Terak 8510/a of 1976 or 1977 was the first graphics desktop personal computer. It was a desktop workstation with an LSI-11 compatible processor, a graphical frame buffer, and a text mode with downloadable fonts. Despite the lack of a MMU, it was capable of running a stripped version of UNIX version 6. It was the first personal machine on which the UCSD p-System was widely used. Various universities in the USA used it in the late 1970s and early 1980s to teach Pascal programming. It provided immediate graphic feedback from simple programs encouraging students to learn.
Three entrepreneurs created the company in 1975: Brian Benzar, William Mayberry and Dennis Kodimer. Terak products were manufactured in Scottsdale, Arizona from 1976 thru 1984. Sales reached $10M and Terak was publicly traded in 1983-84. Besides the original frame-buffer-centric 8510/a, other products were developed: color graphics and a Unix workstation. Eventually Terak succumbed to two forces: the sales juggernaughts of Sun, IBM and Apple plus venture capitalists with little expertise in the computer industry. A Terak computer was on display at the Boston Museum of Science and also the Jefferson Computer Museum.
- Terak information at www.threedee.com
- Terak information at www.bitsavers.org
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