The C128 inside story
This funny story tells about the development of the C128. It was written by Bil Herd, leader of the design- and hardware-developing-team!
It is my pleasure to publish the story on my homepage. Thanks Bil! The story was originally online on the Commodore 8 bit section of Compuserve. The dates and times are the ones when Bil posted the several parts.
But first, do you know what happens, when you type SYS 32800,123,45,6 on a C128? Have a look!
So let's read now about the 'herdware'...
03-Jan-93 00:09:52 Ya interested in history??? Ever hear of the Chuck Peddal Special pin ? If you pull out the ORIGINAL (HANDRAWN!) schematics of tthe 6502 there is an unusual pad marked CPS. This later went on to be the Set Overflow (SO) pin of renowned 1541 use. VIC modes of operation are actually fairly well documented in places like the C64 and C128 programmers reference guide. Do you mean memory maps or VIC Modes of operation like the Famous Multi-Color-Character-Except-every-fourth-Thursday mode? (I.E. those semi-silly modes that give the VIC chip its versatilty). There arn't really any unsupported modes as if there was a hidden mode, meaning one the designers didn't know about, it was usually exploited by the ingenious crowd of developers. Bil P.S. Have you come across any mention of the 8510-HERD? Special run chip (48 pin) that was like gold to developers during C128 development. 12-Jan-93 19:28:05 Coming soon to a terminal near you... the gruesome story of the chip that almost ruined CES (and the C128 along with it) EXPERIENCE the shame and horror of being a Chip Designer at Commodore during the Witch hunts! SEE the expresions on Managers faces when they realize that their Bonuses are at stake! HEAR the woeful lamenting of the programers as they are beaten for no apparent reason! SHARE the experience of being a Hardware Engineer... stalking the halls in search of programmers to beat (for no apparent reason). LEARN how to say "THIS CHIP ONE SICK PUP" in Japanese. Find out just how badly busted up the 80 column chip was and how many DIRTY fixes were needed to make that all crucial show in Vegas on January 6. (Christmas, what Christmas). . <Said rather coyly in an attempt to elicit any positive responses> Unless of course no one is interested..... :) Bil 14-Jan-93 15:37:59 This is the first of many parts as this thing went round and round during our mad dash to make the CES show. I don't even remember what year it was. The 8563 was a holdover from the Z8000 based C900 (the "Z" machine as we called it). The people who worked on it were called the "Z" people, the place they hung out was called the "Z" lounge and well.... you get the idea. The most interesting thing that came out of that group besides a disk controller that prompted you for what sector and cylinder you'd like to write to on every access, was one day they stole the furniture out of the lobby and made their own lounge disguising it as a VAX repair depot. We were so amused by this that we stopped teasing them for a week. (But I become distracted....) Now the very very very early concept of the C128 was based on the D128, a 6509 based creature (boo... hiss). The engineers on the project had tacked a VIC chip onto the otherwise monchrome (6845 based) in an effort to add some color to an otherwise drab machine. No one dreamed that C64 compatibility was possible so no one thought along those lines. I was just coming off of finishing the PLUS 4 (before they added that AWFUL built in software to it) and even though I had done exactly what I was told to do I was not happy with the end result and had decided to make the next machine compatible with _something_ instead of yet another incompatible CBM machine. (I won't go into the "yes Virginia there is Compatibility" memo that I wrote that had the lawyers many years later still chuckling, suffice it to say I made some fairly brash statements regarding my opinion of product strategy) Consequently, I was allowed/forced to put my money where my mouth was and I took over the C128 project. I looked at the existing schematics once and then started with a new design based on C64ness. The manager of the chip group approached me and said they had a color version of the 6845 if I was interested in using it it would deffinately be done in time having been worked on already for a year and a half...... And so the story begins..... (to be continued) 16-Jan-93 19:06:28 Looking back I realize that the source of a lot of the problems with the 8563 is that it wasn't designed FOR the C128 and that the IC designers did not take part in the application of their chip the way the other designers did. The VIC and MMU designers took an active interest in how their chip was used and how the system design worked in relation to their chip. I overlooked ramifications of how the 8563 was spec'ed to work that came back to haunt me later. For example, it was explained to me how there was this block transfer feature for transferring characters for things like scrolling. Cool.... we need that. Later it would turn out when this feature finally did work correctly that it only was good for 256 characters at a time. 256 characters at a time. 256 characters at a time?? I never stopped to think to ask if the feature was semi-useless because it could only block move 3 and 1/3 lines at a time. Did I mention the block move was only good for 256 characters. Later a bug in this feature would almost prove a show stopper with a serious problem showing up in Vegas the night of setup before the CES show. But I get ahead of myself. It was also my understanding that this part had the same operating parameters as the 6845, a VERY common graphics adapter. Not scrutinizing the chip for timing differences the way I normally did any new chip was another mistake I made. The major timings indicated what speed class it was in and I didn't check them all. I blame myself as this really is the type of mistake an amateur makes. I wonder if I was in a hurry that day. :) 16-Jan-93 19:06:39 It turns out that a major change had been made to the way the Read/Write line was handled. When I asked about this, VERY late in the design cycle, like in Production when this problem turned up, I was told "remember,, this was designed to work in the Z8000 machine." ???!!!! ????!!!! Shoulda seen the look on my face! Even though the Z8000 machine was long dead and we had been TRYING for 6 months to use this damm thing in the C128 I'm being told NOW that you didn't design it to work the way we've been using it for 6 months? Shoulda asked.... it was my fault, shoulda asked "is this meant to work"..... :/ Looking back I realize that the source of a lot of the problems with the 8563 is that it wasn't designed FOR the C128 and that the IC designers did not take part in the application of their chip the way the other designers did. The VIC and MMU designers took an active interest in how their chip was used and how the system design worked in relation to their chip. I overlooked ramifications of how the 8563 was spec'ed to work that came back to haunt me later. For example, it was explained to me how there was this block transfer feature for transferring characters for things like scrolling. Cool.... we need that. Later it would turn out when this feature finally did work correctly that it only was good for 256 characters at a time. 256 characters at a time. 256 characters at a time?? I never stopped to think to ask if the feature was semi-useless because it could only block move 3 and 1/3 lines at a time. Did I mention the block move was only good for 256 characters. Later a bug in this feature would almost prove a show stopper with a serious problem showing up in Vegas the night of setup before the CES show. But I get ahead of myself. 16-Jan-93 19:06:50 It was also my understanding that this part had the same operating parameters as the 6845, a VERY common graphics adapter. Not scrutinizing the chip for timing differences the way I normally did any new chip was another mistake I made. The major timings indicated what speed class it was in and I didn't check them all. I blame myself as this really is the type of mistake an amateur makes. I wonder if I was in a hurry that day. :) It turns out that a major change had been made to the way the Read/Write line was handled. When I asked about this, VERY late in the design cycle, like in Production when this problem turned up, I was told "remember,, this was designed to work in the Z8000 machine." ???!!!! ????!!!! Shoulda seen the look on my face! Even though the Z8000 machine was long dead and we had been TRYING for 6 months to use this damm thing in the C128 I'm being told NOW that you didn't design it to work the way we've been using it for 6 months? Shoulda asked.... it was my fault, shoulda asked "is this meant to work the way were using it?" :/ Don't get me wrong, the designer was VERY bright, he held patents for some of the "cells" in the Motorla 68000. It just that chip had to work in conjunction with other chips and thats where some ofd the problems lay. Our story opens as Rev 0 of the chip.... (whats that..... doesn't work.... OK,) Our story opens as Rev 1 of the chip makes its debut and ......(pardon me a moment.....) Our story opens as Rev 2 of the chip makes it debut..... <to be continued> 19-Jan-93 20:50:41 Forgive the sporadic nature of these additions. Now where was I .... oh yeah.... It was sometime in September when we got 8563 Silicon (or so memory serves) good enough to stick in a system. I can't remember what all was wrong with the Chip but one concern we had was it occasionally (no spell checker tonight, bear with me) blew up.... big time.... turn over die and then smell bad..... But then all of the C128 prototypes did that on a semi regular basis as there wasn't really any custom silicon yet, just big circuit boards plugged in where custom chips would later go... but you can't wait for a system to be completed before starting software development. I don't think any of the Animals really gave it a thought until when the next rev of the chip came out and now with less other problems the blowing up 'seemed' more pronounced. Also the protoypes got more solid _almost_ every day. (I knew to go check on the programer's prototype whenever I heard the sound of cold spray coming out of their office.... later it turned out they usually weren't spraying the boards just using their "Hardware Engineer" call. Sometimes all I had to do was touch the board in a mystical way and then back out slowly sometimes accompanied by ritual like chanting and humming. This became know as the "laying of hands". This worked every time execpt one, and that time it turned out I had stolen the power supply myself without telling them.... If anybody else got caught "messing with my guys" they'd get duct taped to a locker and then the box kicked out from under them leaving them stuck until they could peel themselves down, but thats another story.) ANYWAY, when this problem still existed on Rev 4 (I think it was) we got concerned. It was at this time that the single most scariest statement came out of the IC Design section in charge of the '63. This statement amounted to "you'll always have some chance statistically that any read or write cycle will fail due to (synchronicity)". 19-Jan-93 21:12:05 Synchronicity problems occur when two devices run off of two separate clocks, the VIC chip hence the rest of the system, runs off of a 14.318Mhz crystal and the 8563 runs off of a 16Mhz Oscillator. Now picture walking towrds a revolving door with your arms full of packages and not looking up before launching yourself into the doorway. You may get through unscathed if your timing was accidentally just right, or you may fumble through losing some packages (synonymous to losing Data) in the process or if things REALLY foul up some of the packages may make it through and you're left stranded on the other side of the door (synonymous to a completely blown write cycle). What I didn't realize that he meant was that since theres always a chance for a bad cycle to slip through, he didn't take even the most rudimentary protection against bad synchronising. IT's MY FAULT I didn't ask, "what do you mean fully by that statement" because I'd of found out early that there was NO protection. As it turns out the 8563 instead of failing every 3 years or so (VERY livable by Commodore standards) it failed about 3 times a second. In other words if you tried to load the font all in one shot it would blow up every time! The IC designers refused to believe this up until mid December (CES in 2-3 weeks!) because "their unit in the lab didn't do it." Finally I said "show us" and they led the whole rabble (pitch forks, torches, ugly scene) down to the lab. It turns out they wern't EVEN TESTING THE CURRENT REV of the chip, (TWO revs old), they were testing it from Basic because it "blew up" every time they ran it at system speeds (No %^$#%$# sherlock. That's what we're trying to tell you) and even then it screwed up once and the designer reached for the reset switch saying that something does occasionally go wrong. Being one of the Animals with my reflexes highly tuned by Programer Abusing I was able to snatch his arm in mid-air before he got to the reset switch, with blatant evidence there on the test screen. 19-Jan-93 21:12:15 One of the rabble was their boss and (I have been speaking about two designers interchangeably, but then they were interchangeable,) the word Finally came down "FIX IT". Hollow Victory as there was only two weeks till we packed for the show, and there were 4 or 5 other major problems (I'll say more later) with the chip and NO time to do another pass. It was obvious that if we were going to make CES something had to give. As Josey Wales said, "Thats when ya gotta get Mean.... I mean downright plumb crazy Loco Mean". And we knew we had to. 22-Jan-93 14:17:32 Memory flash, I just remebered when we found out there was no interrupt facility built in to the 8563. I remember how patient the designer was when he sat me down to explain to me that you don't need an interrupt from the 8563 indicating that an operation is complete because you can check the status ANY TIME mearly by stopping what you're doing (over and over) and looking at the appropriate register, (even if this means banking in I/O) or better yet sit in a loop watching watching the register that indicates when an operation is done (what else could be going on in the system besides talking to the 8563 ???) Our running gag became not needing a ringer on the phone because you can pick it up ANY TIME and check to see if someone's on it, or better yet, sit at your desk all day picking the phone up. Even in the hottest discussions someone would suddenly stop, excuse himself, and pick up the nearest phone just to see if there was someone on it. This utterly failed to get the point across but provided hours of amusement. The owners at the local bar wondered what fixation the guys from Commodore had with the pay phone. Any ways.... To back up to the other problems that plauged the 8563. Going into December a couple of things happened. The design had been changed to support a "back-bias generator". This thing is generally used to reduce power consumption and speed the chip up. Well, something was not quite right somewhere in the design because the chip got worse. The second thing that happened was that both designers took vacation. Nothing against that from my point of view here 8-9 years in the future, but right then we couldn't understand what these people were doing working on a critical project. 22-Jan-93 14:17:37 Or maybe I was just getting to used to eating Thanksgiving Dinner out of aluminum foil off of a Lab Bench. Christmas consisted of stopping at someone's house who lived in the area for a couple of hours on the way home from work. Anyways, the chips could no longer display a solid screen. The first couple of characters on each line were either missing or tearing, until the thing heated up, then they were just missing. Also, the yield of chips that even worked this good fell to where they only got 3 or 4 working chips the last run. A run is a Half-Lot at MOS and costs between $40,000 and $120,000 to run. Pretty expensive couple of chips. The other problem takes a second to explain, but first a story..... Back when TED (the Plus four) had been mutilated decimated and defecated upon, managment decided to kick the body one last time. "TED shall Talk" came the decree and the best minds in the industry were sought... We actually did have two of the most noted consumer speech people at the time, the guys who designed the "TI Speak an Spell" worked out of the Commodore Dallas office. They did a custom chip to interface a speech chip set to the processor. Operating open loop, in other words without feedback from any of the system design people (US) they defined the command registers. There was a register that you wrote to to request a transfere. To REALLY request the transfer you wrote the same value a second time. We refered to this as the "do it, do it now" register or the "come on pretty please" request, or my favorite, "those #$%&@ Texans" register. ANYWAYS, the 8563 also had a problem where the 256 'bite' transfer didn't always take place properly, leaving a character behind. This ended up having the effect of characters scrolling upwards randomly. 22-Jan-93 14:17:45 So to recap, going into December we had a chip with .001% yield, the left columns didn't work, anytime there was one pixel by itself you couldn't see it, the semi useless block transfer didn't work right, the power supply had to be adjusted for each chip, and it blew up before you loaded all of the fonts unless you took 10 seconds to load the fonts in which case it blew up only sometimes. Finger pointing was in High swing, (the systems guys should have said they wanted WORKING silicon) with one department pitted against the other, which was sad because the other hardworking chip designers had preformed small miracles in getting their stuff done on time. Managers started getting that look rabbits get in the headlights of onrushing Mack trucks, some started drinking, some reading poetry aloud and the worst were commonly seen doing both. Our favorite behaviour was where they hid in their offices. It was rumored that the potted plant in the lobby was in line for one of the key middle managment positions. Programmer beatings had hit a new high only to fall off to almost nothing overnight as even this no longer quelled the growing tension. A sprinkler head busted and rained all over computer equipment stored in the hallway. Engineering gathered as a whole and watched on as a $100,000 worth of equipment became waterlogged, their expressions much like the bystanders at a grisly accident who can't tear their attention away from the ensuing carnage. I can honestly say that it didn't seriously occur to me that we wouldn't be ready for CES, for if it had, I might have succumbed to the temptation to go hide in my office (checking the telephone). There were just too many problems to stop and think what if. Next time (hopefully) I'll try and bring all the problems and answers together and explain why I stopped to tell that rather out of place TED story. 30-Jan-93 19:27:11 No single custom chip was working completely as we went into December with the possible exception of the 8510 CPU. The MMU had a problem where data was "bleeding through" from the upper 64K bank into the lower. This was in part due to a mixup in the different revision of "layers" that are used to make chips. This chip essentially had one of the older layers magically appear bring old problems with it. Unfortunately, this older layer had been used to fix newer problems so we didn't have a way to combine existing layers to fix ALL problems. Dave D'Orio (start telling ya some of the names of a few of the unsung types here) did a GREAT job of bringing most of the IC design efforts together. I was sitting with Dave in a bar, we were of course discussing work, when he suddenly figured out what the problem was. He had looked at the bad MMU chip under a microscope that day. Later that night, under the influence of a few Michelobs, his brain "developed" the picture his eyes had taken earlier and he realized that an earlier layer had gotten into the design. 30-Jan-93 19:49:06 This would not be the first time a problem would be addressed at this particular bar. (The Courtyard.... If you ever saw the David Letterman where the guy stops the fan with his tongue, he was a bartender there). The PLA had a problem where my group had made a typo in specifying the hundred some terms that comprised the different operating parameters. Well the designer in charge of the PLA took this rev as an opportunity to sneak a change into the chip without really going public with the fact he was making a change. When the change went through it caused one of the layers to shift towards one side and effectively shorted the input pins together. Ya should've seen the seen where the designer's boss was loudly proclaiming that Hardware must of screwed up because his engineer DIDN't make any changes (that would've been like admitting that something had been "broken"). You could tell by the way the designer's face was slowly turning red that he hadn't yet found a way of telling his boss that he had made a change. Talk about giving someone enough rope to hang themselves, we just kept paying it out yard by yard. 30-Jan-93 19:53:45 Anyways back to the 8563. The first problem was relatively easy to fix, providing you didn't give a hang about your own self respect. The 8563 designer mentioned that the block copy seemed to work better when you wrote the same command twice in a row. I made him explain this to me in public, mostly due to the mean streak I was starting to develop when it came to this particular subject. He calmly explained that you mearly wrote to this register and then wrote to it again. I asked "you mean do it and do it now?" "Exactly", the designer exclaimed figuring he was on the home stretch to understanding (Intel, at last his eyes unfurled), "kinda like a 'come on pretty please register' I asked with my best innocent expression, "Well sort of" he replied doubt creeping in to his voice, "you wouldn't be from Texas would you", I asked my face the definition of sincerity, (said in the voice of the wanna-be HBO director on the HBO made for TV commercial) "why yes.... yes I am" he replied. Mind you a crowd had formed by this time, that poor guy never understood what was so funny about being from Texas or what a 'Damm Texan' register was. 30-Jan-93 19:53:50 This 'fix' actually did work some what, the only problem was that noone told the guy (Von Ertwine) who was developing CP/M at home (consultant). Von had wisely chosen not to try to follow all of the current Revs of the 8563, instead he latched onto a somewhat working Rev4 and kept if for software development. Later we would find out that Von, to make the 8563 work properly, was taking the little metal cup that came with his hot air popcorn popper (it was a buttercup to be exact) and would put an Ice cube in it and set it on the 8563. He got about 1/2 hour of operation per cube. On our side there was talk of rigging cans of cold spray with foot switches for the CES show, "sparkle??? I don't <pissshhh> see any sparkle <pissshhh>". Anyways, no-one told Von.... but don't worry, he would find out the day before CES during setup in 'Vegas. 23-Oct-93 16:57:43 Sb: C128, The Final Chapter Thought I'd finish what I'd started back in January of this year. I had been talkin 'bout how busted up the 8563, now we get to the part about how it got fixed... well fixed good enough... well patched good enough to give every possible attempt at the appearance of maybe passably working... One of the things that got worse instead of better was something called the back bias generator. Now as much as I admired the blind ambition (as opposed to unmitigated gall... no one ever said it was unmitigated gall and I am not saying that here and now) of slipping in a major change like that right before a CES show, it became obvious that it needed fixed. Now the back-bias generator connects to the substrate of the chip and if you've ever seen the ceramic versions of the 40 and 48 pin chips you would notice that the pin 1 indicator notch is gold colored. That is actually a contact to the substrate. I have never heard of anyone ever soldering to the pin 1 indicator notch but I had little to lose. At this point all I did have to lose was a HUGE jar of bad 8563's. (One night a sign in my handwriting "appeared" on this jar asking "Guess how many working 8563's there are in the jar and win a prize." Of course if the number you guessed was a positive real number you were wrong.) I soldered a wire between this tab and the closet ground pin. The left column reappeared though still a little broken up! The EADY prompt now proudly stated that the machine was READY and not really proclaiming it's desire to be known as the shortened version of Edward. To fix the remaining tearing we put 330 ohm pullups on the outputs and adjusted the power supply to 5.3 volts. This is the equivalent of letting Tim-the-Tool-Man-Taylor soup up your blender with a chainsaw motor but it worked. The side effect was that it would limit the useful life of the part to days instead of weeks as was the normal Commodore Quality Standard. I was afraid that this fix might be deemed worthy for production. (said with the kind of sardonic cynical smile that makes parole officers really hate their jobs) Remember the syncronicity problem? Remember the revolving door analogy? We built a tower for the VIC chip that had something called a Phase Lock Loop on it which basically acted as a frequency doubler. This took the 8.18 Mhz Dot Clock (I think it was 8.18 Mhz.... been too long and too many other dot clock frequencies since then) and doubled it. We then ran a wire over to the 8563 and used this new frequency in place of its own 16 Mhz clock. Now this is equivalent to putting a revolving door at the other end of the room from the first door and synchronizing them so that they turn at the same rate. Now if you get through the first door and walk at the right speed every time towards the second door you will probably get through. This tower working amounted to a True Miracle and was accompanied by the sound of Hell Freezing over, the Rabbit getting the Trix, and several instances of Cats and Dogs sleeping together. This was the first time that making CES became a near possibility. We laughed, we cried, we got drunk. So much in hurry were we that the little 3" X 3" PCB was produced in 12 hours (a new record) and cost us about $1000 each. A new problem cropped up with sparkle in multi-colored character mode when used for one of the C64 game modes. Getting all too used to this type of crises, I try a few things including adjusting the power supply to 4.75 volts. Total time-to-fix, 2 minutes 18 seconds, course now the 80 column display was tearing again. Machines are marked as to whether they can do 40 column mode, 80 column mode or both. We averaged 1-3 of these crises a day the last two weeks before CES. Several of us suffered withdrawal symptoms if the pressure laxed for even a few minutes. The contracted security guards accidentally started locking the door to one of the development labs during this time. A hole accidentally appeared in the wall allowing you to reach through and unlock it. They continued to lock it anyways even though the gaping hole stood silent witness to the ineffectiveness of trying to lock us out of our own lab during a critical design phase. We admired this singleness of purpose and considered changing professions. We finished getting ready for CES about 2:00 in the morning of the day we were to leave at 6:00. On the way to catch the couple of hours sleep I hear the Live version of Solsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel, the theme song of the C128 Animals and take this as a good omen. Several hapless Programmers are spared the ritual sacrifice this night... little do they know they owe their lives to some unknown disc jockey. Advertisements in the Las Vegas airport and again on a billboard enroute from the airport inform us that the C128 has craftily been designed to be expandable to 512K. Now it had been designed to be expandable originally and had been respecified by management so as to not be expandable in case next year's computer needed the expendability as the "New" reason to buy a Commodore computer. That's like not putting brakes on this years model of car so that next year you can tote the New model as reducing those annoying head-on crashes. Upon arriving at the hotel we find that out hotel reservations have been canceled by someone who fits the description of an Atari employee. Three things occur in rapid succession. First I find the nearest person owning a credit card and briskly escort her to the desk were I rented a room for all available days, second, a phone call is placed to another nearby hotel canceling the room reservations for Jack Trameil and company, third, several of those C64's with built in monitors (C64DX's??? man it's been too long) are brought out and left laying around the hotel shift supervisors path accompanied by statements such as "My my, who left this nifty computer laying here... I'd bet they wouldn't miss it too much". The next day we meet up with the guy who developed CPM (Von) for the C128. As I mentioned earlier, someone forgot to tell him about the silly little ramifications of an 8563 bug. His 'puter didn't do it as he had stopped upgrading 8563s on his development machine somewhere around Rev 4 and the problem appeared somewhere around Rev 6. As Von didn't carry all the machinery to do a CPM rebuild to fix the bug in software, it looked like CPM might not be showable. One third of the booth's design and advertising was based on showing CPM. In TRUE Animal fashion Von sat down with a disk editor and found every occurrence of bad writes to the 8563 and hand patched them. Bear in mind that CPM is stored with the bytes backwards in sectors that are stored themselves in reverse order. Also bear in mind that he could neither increase or decrease the number of instructions, he could only exchange them for different ones. Did I mention hand calculating the new checksums for the sectors? All this with a Disk Editor. I was impressed. Everything else went pretty smooth, every supply was adjusted at the last moment for best performance for that particular demo. One application has reverse green (black on green) and the 330 ohm pullups won't allow the monitor to turn off fast enough for the black characters. I had had alternate pullup packs made up back in West Chester and put them in to service. On the average,2 almost working 8563's would appear each day, hand carried by poeple coming to Vegas. Another crisis, no problem, this was getting too easy. If a machine started to sparkle during the demo, I would pull out my ever present tweak tool and give a little demonstration as to the adjustability of the New Commodore power supplies. People were amazed by Commodore supplies that worked, much less had a voltage adjustment and an externally accessible fuse. I explained (and meant it) that real bad power supplies with inaccessible fuses were a thing of Commodore's past and that the New design philosophy meant increased quality and common sense. I'm told they removed the fuse access from production units the month after I left Commodore. The C128 design team: SYS32800,123,45,6 Bil Herd Original design and Hardware team leader. Dave Haynie Integration, timing analysis, and all those dirty jobs involving computer analysis which was something totally new for CBM. Frank Palaia One of three people in the world who honestly knows how to make a Z80 and a 6502 live peacefully with each other in a synchronous, dual video controller, time sliced, DRAM based system. Fred Bowen Kernal and all system like things. Dangerous when cornered. Has been known to brandish common sense when trapped. Terry Ryan Brought structure to Basic and got in trouble for it. Threatened with the loss of his job if he ever did anything that made as much sense again. Has been know to use cynicism in ways that violate most Nuclear Ban Treaties. Von Ertwine CPM. Sacrificed his family's popcorn maker in the search of a better machine. Dave DiOrio VIC chip mods and IC team leader. Ruined the theory that most chip designers were from Pluto. Victor MMU integration. Caused much dissention by being one of the nicest guys you'd ever meet. Greg Berlin 1571 Disk Drive design. Originator of Berlin-Speak. I think of Greg every night. He separated my shoulder in a friendly brawl in a bar parking lot and I still cant sleep on that side. Dave Siracusa 1571 Software. Aka "The Butcher" Not to mention the 8563 designers who made this story possible. The names of the people who worked on the PCB layout can be found on the bottom of the PCB. "RIP: HERD, FISH, RUBINO" The syntax refers to an inside joke where we supposedly gave our lives in an effort to get the FCC production board done in time, after being informed just the week before by a middle manager that all the work on the C128 must stop as this project has gone on far too long. After the head of Engineering got back from his business trip and inquired as to why the C128 had been put on hold, the middle manger nimbly spoke expounding the virtues of getting right on the job immediately and someone else, _his_ boss perhaps, had made such an ill suited decision. The bottom line was we lived in the PCB layout area for the next several day. I slept there on an airmatress or was otherwise available 24 hours a day to answer any layout questions. The computer room was so cold that the Egg Mcmuffins we bought the first day were still good 3 days later.