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Friday, February 16, 2018

Here's another t-shirt I've Hartley worn


The Hartley story is a little-known tale of what might have been and, as this old t-shirt shows, I played a very tiny part in it when in 1980 I worked with Hartley Computer which was one of the first mini/PC computer vertical market successes in the world, with ultimately 250 staff and 3,000 sites in seven countries.

David Hartley became known as ‘the father of computer client account-ing’ when he and his team developed HAPAS (HArtley Professional Accountants’ System), the only software in Australia designed specifi-cally for small accounting practices. He also designed SHEILA (System by Hartley for Entirely Integrated Ledger Accounting) for large businesses.

The operating system was called RT86, a true pre-emptive multi-user multi-tasking operating system for the 8086 chip. It was launched in 1980, fifteen years before Windows PCs had that capability.

When IBM launched the IBM PC, it decided to use the Intel 8088 (an 8-bit external bus sister chip of the full 16-bit 8086 used by Hartley). Looking for someone to supply the operating system, they were intro-duced to Bill Gates, who did not even have any Intel chip-based soft-ware at the time. Bill rushed out to buy what became MS-DOS for $50,000. And so MS-DOS was inflicted upon the world – at a huge cost compared to what might have been with Hartley's far superior RT86.

While with HARTLEY, a company on Bougainville Island, MORGAN EQUIPMENT, asked me to come back to Papua New Guinea and soon my wanderings began anew. Another what-might-have-been story.