Talk:Acorn Computers/Archive 1

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Archive 1


2004.01.01: I have corrected an incorrect fact in the first paragraph here which implied that Chris Curry was one of the founders of Acorn. See reference:

I have also struck out (but not deleted, because the next paragraph refers to it) another incorrect statement. The CPU card had a standard Eurocard connector on it which brought out all the CPU signals (and others, too). See photograph and schematics at: -- mfc

This is really bugging me... All 3 people (Hauser, Curry and Hopper) say that they are founders of Acorn. It is also the commonly reported version of history that at least 2 out of that 3 were involve in founding Acorn. The memory of one employee doesn't really seem enough to justify ignoring this and treating it as untrue. Lmno 01:33, 16 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I checked with two other employees, too, as well has Hauser, who reviewed my site without any comment on that. And Wilson is hardly just one employee -- but instead was the chief designer of their first computer. In none of the descriptions of the time have I seen any mention of Curry being around.
But this should be possible to check on the company's records. In the meantime, surely eye-witness accounts are better than hearsay and 'commonly reported history'? I'd be perfectly happy to go with a change here, given some real evidence. mfc 15:39, 2005 Feb 16 (UTC)
There is some hard evidence, which is not just hearsay: Hermann Hauser's profile at Amadeus Capital Partners, Andy Hopper's homepage at the Lab for Communication Engineering and the history of Chris Curry's company General Information Systems Ltd's. All of these webpages make the claim that the respective person is a founder of Acorn. Each claim could be said to be of importance to the credibility of the person involved as a venture capitalist or suchlike. Untrue statements could lead to legal actions. -- Lmno 15:16, 17 Feb 2005
See [1] -- I have exchanged e-mail with all of these people except Toop and none of them have mentioned Hooper, and the only mention of Curry was to state he was not involved at that time. mfc 22:45, 2005 Feb 17 (UTC)
I have emailed Chris Curry, Hermann Hauser, Andy Hopper and Steve Furber. As of now, Curry, Hopper and Furber have replied. All state that Acorn was a trading name of Cambridge Processor Unit, which was founded by Curry and Hauser (in 1978). lmno 17:35, 26 Feb 2005 (UTC)
This is good; that's consistent with what Furber said in e-mail to me (see my Acorn site), except that he did not mention Curry. Sounds like we need to close the loop with Sophie, who said in answer to: 'Hermann Hauser (from Kings College, Cambridge University) had recently founded Acorn Computers Limited in Cambridge, with Chris Curry, correct?'
"Actually, that came later. The initial work was done for Hermann’s own company 'Cambridge Processor Unit' ... Hermann went for the System One and came up somehow with the Acorn name, then Clive and Chris had an argument and Chris left Science of Cambridge and joined Hermann at Acorn: the first thing that we worked on with Chris was the Atom."
so that's the statement that appears to be wrong. Would you like to e-mail her about it? (I think she's easy to find on the net, but if not, e-mail me on and I'll send -- I don't want to post someone else's e-mail address here.) As you say, maybe people remember things wrong, but until corrected that's the only statement on record. mfc 17:16, 2005 Feb 27 (UTC)
I don't so much think that Sophie's statement is wrong as partial. Chris Curry states that Hermann Hauser worked full time at Market Hill, while, when he and Toop started to develop the Atom, they worked from Curry's home. Curry satted that Acorn Computers Ltd was ioncorporated to separate the risk of an entirely new (and possibly frivolous) product (i.e. a home computer) from the (serious) products that CPU were developing and marketing. I do find this a little confusing, however, since the system 1 was marketed as an Acorn product.

Other stuff

2004.01.02: restored strikeout, as whoever deleted it did not adjust the following paragraph (see Talk above). I will delete the strikeout and edit the rest of the page to match in a couple of days unless someone else has an objection -- mfc

Yes, I object. Strikeouts are inappropriate in any article. RickK 08:23, 3 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Hmm, what is the <strike> tag for, then? It lets people see a [proposed] deletion much more easily than the dreadfully slow 'diff' function. (I'd agree a strikeout should not be a permanent feature :-).)

And again you didn't fix the following paragraph when you removed the strikeout. I'll do it now... mfc

The <strike> tag is for use on HTML pages. It is not really for Wikipedia pages which should, as far as possible, use Wiki markup, a more restricted markup language which does not include the <strike> tag. If you want people to see a [proposed] deletion move it into the talk page for discussion. However note that the <strike> tag may have a limited use on talk pages. -- Derek Ross

I've changed to leaving text of that kind in SGML comments -- that way editors can see the deleted text in context without it offending the casual reader.

On “... use Wiki markup, a more restricted markup language”; surely Wiki markup is a superset of HTML? It adds new notations and conventions while removing nothing. (There are at least 5 conventions for placing Images that I've noticed/seen, for example.) mfc

SGML comments are a good move. And you are right about Wiki markup being a superset of HTML. It's just that it is a good idea to avoid using HTML (as far as possible) in order to make the articles easier for non-technical people to edit. That's what I meant when I used the word restricted -- I was talking about the non-HTML components. Having said that I realise that a lot of features have been added for Wikipedia, some of which are just as complex as HTML if not moreso, not to mention that there are some things which you can only do by using HTML. -- Derek Ross

OK, thanks – sounds as though we are in ‘violent agreement’ :-) Now, how to get Wikipediae to support real quotes and dashes without having to type in symbols?

(e.g., -- for &ndash; --- for &mdash; etc.) mfc

Aquired by who?

IIRC, only ART was aquired by Pace - the rest of Element 14 went to Broadcom. I think something about this is mentioned on Sophie Wilson's personal web site.

Pretty much. A handful of non-ART people went to Pace. Also a bunch of admin people were laid off. Then obviously there's the fact that the remaining e-14 bunch were temporarily owned by MSDW and then did the management buy-out as a separate company.

Black watch incident?

What is the black watch incident? Could do with a wikilink and/or explanation. Lupin 13:58, 23 Mar 2005 (UTC)

It is one of the major events from history of Sinclair radionics. There were others, but none sounded so dramatic ;-) lmno 14:41, 23 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Featured Article candidate?

Does anyone else reckon this is ripe for submission as a featured article candidate? TreveXtalk 9 July 2005 17:30 (UTC)

Title of article

Surely this article should be entitled 'Acorn Computers' rather than 'Acorn Computers Ltd' as it documents the fortunes of a number of legal entities:

  • Cambridge Processor Unit Ltd (Dec 1978)
  • Acorn Computer Ltd (Jan 1979)
  • Acorn Computers Ltd (May 1979)
  • Acorn Computer Group PLC (Sep 1983)
  • ARM Ltd (1990)
  • Acorn Online Media (1994)
  • Element 14 (1999)


The term most people would use to refer to this set of companies is 'Acorn Computers' rather than 'Acorn Computers Ltd'. In fact, the enterprises discussed in this article were under the posession of 'Acorn Computer Group PLC' for longer than 'Acorn Computers Ltd.' I move that this article's title should be changed to Acorn Computers. This is also the term people will search for. TreveXtalk 13:30, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

Market countries

Were Acorn computer never sold comercially in America. Because I never saw any acorn computers as a kid and I never even heard of the company until I started using Wikipedia. (unsigned comment from anon)

See the last paragraph under Financial problems. British computer companies generally didn't seem to have much luck in America, probably due to the simple fact that the US market is larger, and by the time a British company had succeeded, there would already be well-established US competitors. Acorn did have some limited success outside of America, though. [2] --StuartBrady 15:08, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

NPOV cleanup

This article is part of the NPOV backlog. Minor edit to text. Further, since the disputed text seems to have been cleaned up (and text appears to be in accordance with cites), and there has been no discussion suggesting further disagreement, the tag is removed. If you disagree with this, please re-tag the article with {{NPOV}} and post to Talk. -- Steve Hart 20:40, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

I made some changes to the text to make it fit in more with Wikipedia's NPOV policy. Good to see that this section's now more neutral! Andrew (My talk) 17:29, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Acorn slogan

I've just added the company slogan 'The choice of experience' to the infobox. This was what appeared on all Acorn's merchandise, such as computer welcome guides. 12:15, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

UK terminonlogy is not internationlly understood

I was wondering what could be done (or even if it should be done) about some of the terms that seem unique to the UK that are used in this article? For instance a "winding down petition". This is equivalent to a "Chapter 11 Bankruptcy" in the US but this fact is not common knowledge in to most US residents. Is there such a term in the English language that would be understood to any English speaker regardless of their country of residence? I don't think the word "Bankruptcy" would apply, because their are many types of it and a winding down petition only applies to one type. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Zerothis (talkcontribs) 22:52, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Bankruptcy is probably the only term that is universally understood, but it is hardly ever appropriate to use it without qualification as bankruptcy is a legal concept, and every legislated form of bankruptcy is different in important ways. Americans will just have to read up on the relevant UK law if they feel a need to know, same as non-Americans have to when they read articles touching on U.S. bankruptcy law. Abberley2 (talk) 11:59, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Peacock terms

There are peacock terms in the article? Gee thanks. Obviously the people who wrote the article didn't notice them, or they would have shot at eaten them... so can you please point them out? Cheers. lmno (talk) 14:17, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

This is the first time I've seen the article, and I don't agree that there is a problem, so I've removed the tag. Abberley2 (talk) 11:56, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Sophie Wilson

I'm editing the wikilinks so that the displayed name is Sophie Wilson. Refer to Talk:Sophie Wilson#Name/sex change (specifically the comments from User:Alynna.Kasmira and User:Stephen B Streater) for an understanding of this decision. --trevj (talk) 08:44, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Merger proposal

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
The result of this discussion was to keep as separate articles. --trevj (talk) 08:18, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

2006 relaunch neutrality

This section needs rewriting to be more neutral, it currently reads more like a rant than an encyclopedia entry.

That's true... I'd actually like to see a separate article for the new Acorn, as it seems unrelated. --StuartBrady (Talk) 01:03, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

Relaunch rewrite

I made some large changes to the 'relaunch' section, as I felt that it was still needed work from a neutrality point of view.

  • Removed many sections of which seemed uncertain, removed sentances with 'It's though to' and 'possibly'.
  • Removed link to reseller page on their website, it's a dead link
  • Removed talk of trademark controversy, there is no evidence that there is a trademark issue. In fact there is no reason that the new company could not have licensed the trademark from the correct people. There's no evidence either way.
  • Removed link to WHOIS information, it was irrelevant and not used to support any sort of argument (whether a domain name is registered individually and used for company purposes is not an offence and should not be taken as any evidense of wrongdoing)
  • Seperated talk about the controversal reuse of the Acorn name from the discussion of new companies operations.
  • Simplified the reference to companies house information, it's unlikely anyone would have a desperate need of the company numbers, but that they are different remains relevant.

--Flibble 14:57, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

More on Relaunch:

I've tried to make the relaunch parts a bit more balanced - I'm an old Acorn user myself, having owned an Electron, programmed the BBCs and Archimedies extensively and frequented the BBSs (remember them long before the advent of the Internet? - Telecom Gold etc. - I must be getting on). I think the new company deserves a chance to proove itself - they are manufacturing and supporting entirely in the UK & thus creating jobs - @ £700 (ex vat) for their new laptops, they are also quite competitive for the features they offer & standard warranties etc. I do note that they are currently under investigation by the OFT for attempting to form a cartel & enforce retail prices however - maybe not such a good start (OK, would be a good start to a 5 year prison sentence), but I think they are a young company and learning as they go. If you think this has gone too far, please edit again (it's what WikiPedia is for). I have spoken to the company (prime research) and base the edits on fact & experience. Ben.fitzgerald 22:34, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

I've tried to make the trademark issues clearer and removed bits which were POV quasi-advertising. Hopefully we can agree that what's there now is NPOV and sourced well. I'm also going to have a crack at the introduction. TreveXtalk 19:05, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

Relaunch: Slight modifications

I've made some changes to the article so that it remains at the standard we expect of a Wikipedia featured article. I used to use Acorns myself, so I'm proud that the Wikipedia article about the company has managed to make it to featured status. I have mainly cut down on the amount of information mentioned about the relaunch in the introduction, and moved the extra information to the relaunch section. I have also cleaned up the spelling, grammar and punctuation in this section. As for the Friends-related trivia, I have moved it to a separate "Trivia" section, but noted that this is probably coincidental; Friends was an American show, and Acorn was almost unknown in the States.

I think the implication was that the computer and OS were (code)named after the characters, rather than the other way round. That's how I've always understood it! So Acorn being unknown in the States doesn't really matter -- Friends is well-known over here. Anyway, wouldn't this be better off in the article Phoebe (computer)? 15:31, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
I've gone ahead and moved it. BTW, the relaunch section is much cleaner, now. Nice work! :) --StuartBrady (Talk) 15:54, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. No probs! :-) Andrew (My talk) 20:54, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Anyhow, good job Ben Fitzgerald on updating the relaunch section in the first place; I don't really keep up-to-date with such things. I'm happy to do the cleaning up afterwards.Andrew (My talk) 16:56, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

Two separate pages

I think to make it easier (possibly).. shall we seperate this article into Acorn Computers (1978-2000) and Acorn Computers (2006+) to make it less confusing? Just a thought...

Sjc07 22:16, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

I would say such a split is only justified if the new acorn become notable for something other than buying and raping the acorn name. Plugwash 03:33, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

I must agree its better as one page Gaogier 14:20, September 15 2007 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Is it possible at least to have two company infoboxes on the same page, as the 'new' Acorn is a completely seperate company that just happens to have licensed or bought the rights to the brand name? I'd say that the current merged infobox, with its collated list of classic and new Acorn products, etc, is the most untidy/confusing aspect of the single-page situation. If the old "defunct company" box referencing the classic Acorn could be restored to the top of the page, and a new box on the 2006 company placed in the appropriate section of the article, it would go a long way towards sorting the current mess out? Springy Waterbuffalo 13:19, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

I agree that the page, especially the infobox, is a mess as it is. The new Acorn bears little relation to the old one. I didn't know about the Acorn "relaunch" and was left thoroughly confused by this page, especially the logo. I move to separate them. May do it myself if there are no objections. Ooooooooo 20:28, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

Have split the infoboxes. Springy Waterbuffalo 14:23, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

I the infobox needs mofe infomation added to it?

I Split The Pages -Gaogier —Preceding signed but undated comment was added at 17:42, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

Resplit proposed

The new company has no connection with the old. The old company was RISCOS based - the new Windows based. Further, the new company is an entirely new legal entity. This is no different to when new football clubs rise from the ashes of defunct clubs - they get separate articles. The only connection is that the new company shares the same trading name. I suggest that the page on the new company is disamb'd as Acorn Computers (2006). TerriersFan 23:20, 11 October 2007 (UTC)

Presumablly the new football clubs in question have something to make them notable other than the name they bought, is there any evidence this is the case for the new "acorn computers". Plugwash 08:05, 12 October 2007 (UTC)
It's notable that they have simply bought an old name to try to pass themselves off as something they aren't... The new company has nothing in common whatsoever with the original one (by the test of "is there any link other than the name"), so doesn't belong in this article, other than as a brief mention that they are indeed nothing to do with the original Acorn Computers. -Riedquat 23:07, 17 October 2007 (UTC)
I agree. If the new company is not considered notable enough then their article will be AfD'd and deleted and that's just fine by me. Either way the reference to them in this article should be restricted to a single sentence, as suggested. However, all the signs are that, if we don't split, then material on the new company will continue to expand, contaminating a featured article. Unless there is strong objection I intend to split and then the new article can stand or fall as the Community decrees. TerriersFan 23:36, 17 October 2007 (UTC)
I have now split the article. TerriersFan 23:55, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

'Unsplit' proposed (March 2011)

I propose that Acorn Computers (2006) be merged into Acorn computers. As the 2006 company is now defunct, I propose its coverage be merged with Acorn computers, which was established for longer and has left a legacy behind it. Did Acorn Computers (2006) leave any achievements which would give it notability? Perhaps the most appropriate place for the information would be within a new section on the Acorn brand (within Acorn computers). If such a merge proceeds, the extent of information on this Acorn Computers (2006) would be likely to be subsequently reduced. I'd suggest the possible retention of File:AcornbigLogo.JPG for comparison purposes, but the ultimate deletion of File:GaogiersDataPOD.jpg (both files were provided by User:Gaogier). --trevj (talk) 15:36, 9 March 2011 (UTC) If I'd scanned both articles first I'd have realised the best place for the info is within Revival of the Acorn trademark - sorry! --trevj (talk) 16:00, 9 March 2011 (UTC)

No, given the reasons it was split in the first place are still valid, unless you can come up with a citable reference directly linking the two companies, then I believe they should be treated as the seperate entities that they were. Have a read up this talk page for endless discussion on that matter.--Flibble (talk) 18:00, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
Previous discussions above are noted. I certainly don't believe that the two companies were linked, except for the fact that the 2006 company attempted to capitalise on the old Acorn brand.
  • The general notability guideline states "If a topic has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject, it is presumed to satisfy the inclusion criteria for a stand-alone article or stand-alone list."
  • If there was significant coverage by reliable sources, there are not many cited in the article. (Excepting the Drobe and The Icon Bar reports, which remain relevant to the original Acorn brand.)
  • The company's 'About' page at the Wayback machine is useful but is not a secondary source.
  • Marc Penton's engaget article is still present, but there doesn't seem to have been any subsequent coverage.
  • The blaptops article is preserved at the Wayback machine but the site seems to exist no more, so I don't know how it can be determined whether it ever included any further coverage.
  • The CTShow site doesn't seem to archive their old events or exhibitors, so I'd say that source is rendered invalid due to linkrot. Also, appearing at a trade show does not necessarily establish notability, in the same way that coverage in a book may not do (there are few qualifying criteria for exhibiting at a trade show or authoring a book).
Therefore, I maintain the proposal. IMO the 2006 company is not notable under WP:CORP. Merging its contents would be a first step. Subsequently paring those contents down to a number of statements about the short saga would suffice. The original article could either be retained as a redirect, or nominated for deletion. (Or it could just be nominated for deletion regardless, in which case a successful outcome may be subject to its contents being merged.)
I can appreciate that effort has been spent by editors on Acorn Computers (2006). However, the article is short and unlikely to be expanded (see WP:DEL#Merging). --trevj (talk) 06:48, 11 March 2011 (UTC)
Something that could be done to possibly obtain wider views would be tagging of Talk:Acorn Computers (2006) with {{WikiProject Business}}. It could then be included for assessment - although that Project already seems to have plenty of articles requiring assessment. Anyway, I can see where you're coming from but still don't think that the current separate article arrangement is now appropriate. --trevj (talk) 08:37, 11 March 2011 (UTC)
They should not be merged, as one is an important and unique part of UK computer history and the other is one of hundreds of other company's that just make generic windows computers, other than one buying the name of the other, they have nothing in commonBack ache (talk) 16:10, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
I agree that the two companies should be differentiated. The issue as I see it is that Acorn Computers (2006) is not notable. However, the fact that it existed (due to the perceived value of the Acorn brand) is notable. It's for this reason that I didn't immediately place an {{Afd}} template. Depending on further discussion here (or improvements being made to Acorn Computers (2006)), that may be done (and would therefore lead to wider discussion). --trevj (talk) 11:50, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
It seems reasonably accurate and is now much better referenced, there's also quite a few more 3rd party references on it such as theregister and pcpro Trevor, you need to be very careful about being a notability deletionist in these matters, especially with the notability of various companies that fall into the scope of Project RISC OS. Incidentally I fall into the area of allowing content to stick around, it's very difficult to improve articles when people delete them at the stub or start stages.--Flibble (talk) 16:44, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
Good - I didn't see those refs. Regarding being a notability deletionist, I know that Wikipedia is a work in progress. Therefore if the company is considered (and cited to be) notable then fair enough - I guess the article will stay. As for people deleting articles at the stub or start stages, it may sometimes be a case of WP:WPNP members having concerns about "I'll add content later". For notability of RISC OS related companies, such articles are likely to be improved, as they're part of the Project. Acorn Computers (2006) currently isn't, and therefore it's not obvious that it will be improved by Project members (whose attention is likely to be focussed on Project articles). --trevj (talk) 05:50, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose merge. There was no connection between the two companies except that the second company bought the right to use the trademark originally used by the first. The machines that the two companies made were based on entirely different operating systems. TerriersFan (talk) 20:54, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
Then consensus here is to keep separate articles. My opinion is less strong now we've got a couple more references. In the absence of any comments supporting the proposal, I'll change my mind so this issue can be closed. Apologies if anyone feels this proposal has wasted their time. --trevj (talk) 10:55, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.
Archive 1