Apple LaserWriter - was Re: Accelerator boards - no future? Bad business?

Toby Thain toby at
Fri Apr 22 15:47:21 CDT 2016

On 2016-04-22 4:28 PM, Fred Cisin wrote:
> On Fri, 22 Apr 2016, Eric Christopherson wrote:
>> I like the new types of peripherals but it makes me a little
>> uncomfortable
>> knowing that e.g. in the case of the uIEC-SD for Commodores, the clock
>> speed of the peripheral is 16 to 20 times that of the original host
>> CPU. I
>> keep hatching little schemes of perhaps putting a tiny OS kernel in the
>> thing, but at that point *it* would become the computer and the 128 would
>> be just sort of sitting there. The same is true of the CosmosEx device
>> I've
>> been thinking of getting for my Atari STs; it has a Raspberry Pi inside.
> I heard at the time, that the Apple Laserwriter was the "most powerful"
> machine that they made, and that certain people were connecting
> terminals to it and programming in Postscript.  I did some trivial
> programming in Postscript, but didn't have a Laserwriter.  It was a
> stack based language, with similarities to Forth.   I suspect that the
> "terminals" were actually terminal emulation in whichever machines were
> currently connected anyway.

Yes, it had RS232 serial (and AppleTalk), like all the early PostScript 

It wasn't _that_ fast, though: 12 MHz 68K running an interpreted 
language (with no doubt native code for the graphics implementation; 
perhaps that's where its reputation for speed came from, but only useful 
for its actual purpose, printing :).

I suppose one could say that it was a little faster hardware-wise than 
the Macs of 1985, but they were usually running native code, so the 
comparison isn't very useful imho.


> I made a company logo that was outline letters with a fill of lines
> radiating from a point (think about Moire pattern artifacts when pushing
> the resolution limits).  Then I found that the "Freedom Of Press"
> Postscript emulation of the commercial large format printer was too
> slow, and did not have a large enough stack space.  (whilst other
> deadlines were looming).

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