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

Tom Gardner t.gardner at
Wed Oct 4 13:14:42 CDT 2017

Thanks for your  research which supports my point since all your cites postdate the April 1989 date of ATA usage by the CAM committee.

Remember this all started when someone (Fred?) posted that ATA followed IDE.


-----Original Message-----
From: Pete Turnbull [mailto:pete at] 
Sent: Tuesday, October 03, 2017 10:56 AM
To: cctalk at
Subject: Re: The origin of the phrases ATA and IDE [WAS:RE: formatting MFM drives on a IBM PC]

On 03/10/2017 01:04, Tom Gardner via cctalk wrote:
> Unfortunately there is no documentation to support Pete's recollection - if there is any I would like to see it.

Well, actually, there is, though not for quite as early as I had those conversations.  The company I was referring to was HCCS Associates, and although I can't find a copyright date for their original software, I can find pictures of the interfaces, clearly labelled "IDE", and one version of the software, called "IDE Manager".  It's version 2.1, dated February 1990.  They used mostly, but not exclusively, Connor drives, by the way.

Another I can find is another company who made an interface for a slightly later machine from the same family, and one version does carry a date, also 1990.

The Watford Electronics IDE interface (called WE-IDE) for the same series of machines was released about the same time.  The software is dated September 1989.  They used Western Digital drives, amongst others.

So there's clear proof that at least three companies in the UK were using the term IDE before (or at least by) 1990.  I never heard it called anything else in that timeframe.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Pete Turnbull [mailto:pete at]

> Nope.  I recall conversations with a small-scale developer in the UK 
> who was creating addons and accessories for the company I worked for 
> (Acorn
> Computers) in 1987-1988, and he was touting IDE

Pete Turnbull

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