The origin of the phrases ATA and IDE [WAS:RE: formatting MFM drives on a IBM PC]

allison allisonportable at
Sun Oct 1 17:34:35 CDT 2017

On 10/01/2017 04:55 PM, Jon Elson via cctalk wrote:
> On 10/01/2017 02:58 PM, Chuck Guzis via cctalk wrote:
>> On 10/01/2017 12:46 PM, Tom Gardner via cctalk wrote:
>>> I've looked for but cannot find any WD or Compaq documents publically
>>> using IDE to describe what ultimately issued as ATA-1.  My search
>>> included various Compaq maintenance manuals.  The earliest public use
>>> of ATA and AT attachment that I can find is March 1969 at the CAM
>>> committee draft standard long before IDE was linuga franca for these
>>> drives.  The earliest public disclosure of the interface that I can
>>> find is revision IV to the Conner CP3022 specification dated Feb
>>> 1988; it doesn’t name the interface other than in terms of “task file
>>> emulation.”  It is likely that such documents existed from Conner
>>> prior to Feb 1988, perhaps as early as shipping the CP344 in 4Q86.
>>> My point is the interface was public before it was named.
>>> My recollection (possibly flawed) is WD tried to have the responsible
>>> committee change the name to IDE and failed.
>>> I do have a confidential WD document from 1965 which does use the
>>> term IDE for "Integrated Drive Electronics" referring to their chips,
>>> a drive built with these chips was called an "Integrated Drive" or an
>>> ID.
WD didn't exist till sometime after 1970.  You must mean 1985.

>>> The earliest advertisements and specifications for what we would now
>>> call ATA-1 drives from Conner, MiniScribe and Quantum did not use
>>> either the term IDE or ATA.  I have a list of terms used if anyone
>>> cares.
>>> As best I can tell WD began publically using the term IDE for its
>>> drives sometime around 1990 - if anyone can find a public usage prior
>>> to March 1989 of IDE to describe what became ATA-1  I'd really like
>>> to see it.
Their first parts were UARTs and maybe USARTs.    However ATA is before 1989
just not a lot more before.

>>> The CAM and ANSI committees have since March 1969 defined ATA == AT
>>> Attachment and NEVER used "Advanced Technology" as an acronym for AT
>>> in any standard or draft including the one cited below!  There are
>>> 134 possible definitions <>  of
>>> “AT,” including for example, “Appropriate Technology”  – sure the
>>> connection to IBM’s PC/AT  is obvious, but the authors, editors and
>>> reviewers of the standards never meant it to mean “Advanced
>>> Technology” so I suggest we respect their definition and not leap to
>>> an obvious but incorrect conclusion.
>> Tom, I think your dates are about 20 years early.
Since the PC that is the IBM first is 1981 late summer intro before that
is error.

During the prior to time IE pre IBM PC the world was Apple II, CP/M
and machines like the TRS80.  Disks were expensive and rare For floppies
and hard
disks were EXPENSIVE and even more rare.  I was bleeding edge with a
Teltek and ST506
in 1980(summer) and it was over 1K in hardware then never minding
it myself with CP/M 2.2.  The then current disks were removable packs
(10mb and over 5K$)
and 4mb and larger 8" disk systems using SA4000 drives like Morrow and
others.  In
two years that would change greatly and disk sizes would be
multiplying.  It was about 1987
when PCs started to run larger than 30mb.

> 1969??  Yes, sounds REALLY early to me, too.  The 8080, or even the
> 4004, had not been developed yet!
> The only "PC" was the Biomedical Computer Lab's Programmed Console (to
> avoid the use of the
> word "computer" which set the corporate suite in a tizzy) which was a
> 12-bit computer built into a desk,
> descended from the LINC.  Mostly used for radiation treatment planning.
> In 1969, the only chips you could buy were SMALL scale integration, a
> few gates or FF to a package,
> in RTL, DTL, and ECL.  TTL was just coming out in 1969-1970.
> Western Digital was formed in 1970.  I got seriously into the
> minicomputer arena in about 1973 with
> Data General and DEC PDP-11 systems.  Small disks like the Diablo
> cartridge drive and larger ones that were essentially plug-compatible
> IBM 2314-type drives were available in the early 1970's.  These had
> very little electronics
> in the drive.  A little bit of head seek logic and read and write
> amps, that was about it.
> Jon

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