The IBM PC was introduced to the world in August, 1981. We at Vansco got 2 of the original PCs in December, 1981. Both had something like 128 kB of memory. One of them had dual 5-1/4 inch single-sided double-density floppy drives, the other had none.
One of the PCs was given to the IAMC at the University of Manitoba, for research. We kept the other for our own use.
I actually loaded one tape into the PC, then never did it again, since we put 2 “half-height” 5-1/4 inch floppies into the one that had shipped with none.
We immediately expanded the RAM in both computers. As I recall, we initially got enough chips to expand them to 384 kB each. Later, we expanded our own to 640 kB (well actually was more than that, but the video adapter created a “hole” in the memory map), and even later still, we purchased expansion cards that give a huge amount of memory, like 16 MB, and bank switched. Oy, what would you do with all that memory?
The original PC came with three operating systems: PC-DOS 1.0, CPM/86, and UCSD P-System. I tried all three, and found PC-DOS, by Microsoft, to be the worst of the lot. CPM/86 was rather cool, actually, with backward compatibility with CP/M, which itself was quite popular at the time. I am still rather grumpy that Microsoft won the IBM PC O/S war.
PC-DOS came with a BASIC interpreter, which, although pretty sad by modern standards, opened up an easy way to whip off simple programs. The samples provided are legendary – silly little music players and games. I didn’t pay much attention to BASIC, although I had lots of BASIC experience – I quickly graduated to QNX and the ‘C’ programming language, and rarely looked back (until now, that is, heh heh).
My fellow UofM student, Danny Lew, needed to do some PASCAL assignments but couldn’t get near the TSO systems at the university at the time… so he came in and used the UCSD P-System PASCAL to do his work. It was very advanced in operation, and quite cool… but would hang up constantly. It was very unreliable. After Danny finished that course, I never booted it again.