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Inventors of the Modern Computer
Seymour Rubenstein & Rob Barnaby

In the early days, the size of the market was more promise than reality... WordStar was a tremendous learning experience. I didn't know all that much about the world of big business. I thought I knew it" - Seymour Rubenstein

"I am happy to greet the geniuses who made me a born-again writer, having announced my retirement in 1978, I now have six books in the works and two [probables], all through WordStar." Arthur C. Clarke on meeting Rubenstein and Barnaby

Released in 1979 by Micropro International Inc., WordStar was the first commercially successful word processing software program produced for microcomputers and the best selling software program of the early eighties. Word processing can be defined as the manipulation of computer generated text data including creating, editing, storing, retrieving and printing a document.

The first computer word processors were line editors, software-writing aids that allowed a programmer to make changes in a line of program code. Altair programmer Michael Shrayer decided to write the manuals for computer programs on the same computers the programs ran on. He wrote the somewhat popular and the actual first PC word processing program, the Electric Pencil in 1976. Some other early word processor programs were Apple Write I, Samna III, Word, WordPerfect and Scripsit.

Seymour Rubenstein first started developing an early version of a word processor for the IMSAI 8080 computer when he was director of marketing for IMSAI. He left to start MicroPro International Inc. in 1978 with only $8,500 in cash. Software programmer Rob Barnaby was convinced to leave IMSAI and tag along with Rubenstein and MicroPro. Barnaby wrote the 1979 version of WordStar. Jim Fox, Barnaby's assistant, ported (re-wrote for a different operating system) WordStar from the CP/M operating system to MS/PC DOS.

Note: The CP/M operating system was developed by Gary Kildall, founder of Digital Research, copywritten in 1976 and released in 1977. MS/PC DOS is the famous operating system introduced by MicroSoft and Bill Gates in 1981.

Inventors of the Modern Computer
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compter inventionsRelated Links

Seymour Rubenstein
WordStar Listserver
A Brief History of Word Processing
A paper on word processing development and then-current state. (Written in 1986)
WordStar And You
Nice screen shot of WordStar.
The Arthur C. Clarke Chapter Of The Silicon Jungle
A famous science fiction writer's take on technology, computers and word processing.

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