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Acorn Prof Furber made a CBE

Published: 29th Dec 2007, 12:12:58 | Permalink | Printable

Didn't he do well?

Steve FurberBeeb and ARM processor co-designer Professor Steve Furber has been recognised in the New Year Honours list. The University of Manchester boffin, who was part of the team that produced the BBC Microcomputer and the ARM chip for Acorn in the 1980s, was made a CBE for his services to computer science.

Whilst studying at university in the 1970s, Steve joined a club for computer hobbyists, the Cambridge University Processor Group, and later became involved in Acorn after bumping into company co-founder Hermann Hauser. Acorn had been tasked with designing a microcomputer for the BBC's computer literacy project and 1.5 million machines were eventually sold.

Steve told BBC News: "There was a gang of us who used to order integrated circuits and microprocessors from the very small number of shops that sold them. We got these bits and started building machines.

"When the BBC first came talking about the contract their estimate was that maybe 12,000 would be sold."

Steve added: "I've been fortunate to be in the right place at the right time to do something interesting and have also been surrounded by very good people. The CBE came completely out of the blue, but obviously I'm delighted."

Prof Furber also won a top technology medal in September.


Home computing pioneer honoured Steve Furber's profile

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Brilliant news. With Andy Hopper getting recognition last year and now Mr Furber. Great. I hope next year Ms Wilson gets recognition. That would be awesome.

 is a RISC OS UserBecky on 29/12/07 1:15PM
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I'd be overjoyed if his legacy to British computing didn't equate to an OS languishing whilst the likes of YouTube and BBC videos and other parts integral to the modern internet are off limits.

 is a RISC OS UserAW on 30/12/07 4:12PM
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Sorry that's unfair - I meant, "seem to equate".

 is a RISC OS UserAW on 30/12/07 4:22PM
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Well done to Prof Furber for a genuine contribution to the industry, which has resulted in the most sucessful processor architecture on the planet.

Its just a same that head of HMRC whos contribuition to British IT was overseeing the loss of 25 million people's records in the post, also gets the same honour.

Just gos to show we still reward patronage over acheivement everytime. So its no wonder we've given Cambridge to Microsoft and Intel to suck in and stamp down the sort of talented innovaters that created Acorn and ARM.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 3/1/08 3:03PM
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Well said.

Could the circumstances that made the BBC Micro so successful ever return in a way that benefits RISC OS hardware and/or software? i.e. government and other public bodies see oncoming revolution and put up money to meet the perceived need as was the case with government cash for schools and the BBC with their National Computer Literacy project.

Now there's an idea for a Drobe article, one that would need a fair bit of research or knowledge of the IT industry.

Given the heaps unpon heaps of opinion and self-appointed experts (genuine or not) on Acorn Usenet, I can't believe there are so few think-tank style features around. Like, advocating as an open letter or opinion piece what RISC OS Ltd, Castle "should do" or what "should be done" or at least "what it would take to achieve x,y,z".

 is a RISC OS UserAW on 3/1/08 7:34PM
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Britain has had its chance and blown it, and I don't see another Acorn or ARM coming from this country. Like every other scientific field we've had sucess in since the war, we've just handed it over to the American's to commerically exploit, and now lack the skills to compete.

But America isn't in a good shape these days, they produce mostly lawyers and accountants from their education system, where as India and China are turning out scientists and engineers in vast quantities. With the dollar weaking, they wont be able to attract the best to come to the US to work, and eventually these people will set up in their own countries.

India is already starting to move beyond simple out sourrcing and while China concentrates on cheap production, every deal they make with western companies involves partnering and technology transfer.

I see the next Acorn, Intel or Microsoft coming from that part of the world. The only IT related jobs in the UK will be working behind the counter in PC Word.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 3/1/08 11:43PM
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Not everything went to the Americans and we have received technologically from them in some areas. Also, the Beeb was sold there AIUI but possiby wasn't pushed hard enough.

Acorn tried to repeat many of the strengths of the BBC with the RiscPC and its incredible expandibility which is attested to by so many still being in use and still being bought second hand.

What I'm talking about is trying to think in terms of the assets we still have rather than wallow in perceived failure and take it from there. That's what the best Acorn/RISC OS projects have done and are still in fact doing.

 is a RISC OS UserAW on 4/1/08 7:07PM
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Lets not forget the most painful surrender to the American's, when Balir got in to office and handed over the entire UK education system to Bill Gates in return for a photo opportunity outside number 10 and a sound bite on that days news.

Almost over night our world leading an innovative IT teaching was replaced with the rote training of Microsoft Office drones, sucking vast budgets from schools for licences, and support teams.

The reward for putting the final nail in the coffin of Acorn and costing UK buisness more in lost productivity than industrial action in the 70s - a KBE. Arise Sir Gates of Windows, and UK IT rest in peace.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 5/1/08 1:12PM
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AW: just noticed you've written the same thig in the Maudlin article. Not much optimism to be had round here after all. :(

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 5/1/08 1:31PM
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