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The Galaksija computer was a craze in 1980s Yugoslavia (tribunemag.co.uk)
250 points by viburnum 11 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 81 comments

One few little details about those times: official radio was broadcasting spectrum games at late night hours. You recorded the game and played it on computer.

On flea markets you could buy latest games on packs of around 30 on one cassette. Yugoslavia had no copyright laws and breaking software protections became national sport.

Computer magazines weren't full of reviews like today but rather full of electronics, software sources (that you have typed to your computer - I still remember that some genius started to add checksum at the end of endless DATA statements and give you a message that you have done an error in line x).

My first computer (c64) was smuggled from Austria under fathers car seat, at age of 12 I have written my first software (due to the large amounts of cheap games I got bored) and one of the coolest things to see were pirate intros packed with games. At 14 I was fully proficient with Amiga and Atari ST.

Those were different times, we didnt have 30 types of chocolate bars, zillions of different toys but we had a lot of imagination. Now, my country... the consumption has completely destroyed public morale, innovation and will to actually do something else than be pretty (boys included) and fit and well dressed at youth time, having latest phone and likes on your FB account. I had unique chance to see two very different parts of how society functions and I think we, as humans, are on wrong path.

"the consumption has completely destroyed public morale, innovation and will to actually do something"

When I talk to people living in the balkans, I don't get the feeling that abundance in products is destroying their morale.

Depends, us old people who saw both sides of the coin feel like today’s youth is crippled, they have no motive to study or be competitive, it’s mostly look pretty and be out with friends all day long.

I was born in late 70s in Croatia (then Yugoslavia), moved in early 90s to Belgrade, Serbia, due to rise of nationalism and violence of official Croatian regime against Serbs. Not that official Serbian regime was any better in that regard, just against other nations, mostly Croatians and Bosnians.

I don't consider myself old, but I'm no "modern kid" by any measure.

What I observe among today's people of these regions (I travel and keep contact with people all over ex-Yugoslavia - mostly Bosnia, Croatia and Slovenia), regardless of their age, is defeatism and lack of confidence. Most don't beleive they can invent, build or produce anything on their own. Everything needs to be imported.

It saddens me because ex-Yugoslavia used to produce computers, cars, electronics, aircrafts, hi-fi audio stuff etc. back in the 80s.

Closing of all these industries in 90s had devastating econimical impact, but that was later recovered - they mostly reopened but now under new multinational owners, producing parts for global brands. Smart and industrious people got their salaries back.

What hasn't recovered so far is belief that we can again invent and build for ourselves, not sell knowledge and skill to big global players at low price and then buy finished products at much higher price.

But then again I think this is not specific just to ex-Yugoslavia, it seems to be global trend.

> What I observe among today's people of these regions ..., regardless of their age, is defeatism and lack of confidence.

My personal experience (mainly from visits to Bosnia) confirms that. In my opinion, the ongoing brain drain is a main reason behind it. It's a rational choice for talented and motivated young people to move to a Western European country, thus many do so. Unfortunately, the result is that those not leaving have a very hard time forming a critical mass which could break through the various deadlocks left behind by the war years.

Even the old Greeks complained how their youth is worse. It’s been quite a few generations since and we are still moving on.

Do you have a source for this? It is commonly attributed to Socrates, but this appears not to be true :



I've heard being attributed to Hesiod from a talk by Adam Conover, but i've not investigated.

EDIT: sorry, apparently it's also a misquotation:


The old abundance paradox. When you have everything you appreciate very little. We have had the same problem with the middle class here in the US for half a century, but our national culture had a strong focus on competition, winning, and money.

Those old values are fading for better or worse, and it will be interesting to see what happens next.

It is a trope that every generation thinks the next generation is worse

I also think you're looking at Yugoslavia with nostalgic rose colored glasses. I understand it because I grew up in communist Eastern Europe and I have similar feelings about life back then, but let's be clear, everything was fine as long as you charted the expected course and had no major aspirations. If you had any sort of ambition, political, or economic, or if your personality trait tended towards contrarianism, you had to leave. It was also clear that European communist nations were being left behind by ever faster developing west. Had there was no market transition, you still would have had to import western electronics because our nations were never going to meaningfully compete in that sphere. During the time of Galaksija computer, the West was going through a much larger and much more broad and egalitarian PC revolution, and was only 10 years removed from the web. We were never going to catch up. The political structures of our nations, because they were monolithic an inflexible, were corrupt by the 80s. In my country the collapse resulted in social upheaval and very painful economic transition. In your nation, it resulted in many years of civil war.

We had 14 days of "war" and 19 killed and 182 wounded (official numbers - if you would took a book about history you would quite quickly figure out the war in Bosnia and Croatia was not due to change of system but due to cultural burden that was piling up for centuries).

But I will not go down that political rabbit hole or classical fallacy that every generation thinks the next generation is worse - no, not everything is better just for the fact that previous generation thinks it is worse.

I do believe that in your country was as you said it (which is imho normal - you lived there). For my country, let me judge myself (as I have lived "there").

>We had 14 days of "war" and 19 killed and 182 wounded

You can't praise Yugoslavia, and then fall back on Slovenia when Yugoslav failures are mentioned.

>you would quite quickly figure out the war in Bosnia and Croatia was not due to change of system but due to cultural burden that was piling up for centuries

Both are true. I think there is universal agreement that Tito's death set up the conditions for the eventual civil war. And yes, it is also no coincidence that the civil war was along ethno-nationalistic lines.

>For my country, let me judge myself (as I have lived "there").

That's fair, but I'm not sure if anything I mentioned was actually untrue or even controversial .. even if I didn't grow up in Yugoslavia.

Egalitarian PC Revolution? What are you smoking? PCs were only available to the very wealthy and only the fortunate and privileged could hope to break into that industry. The entire space also quickly became a copyright and patent minefield. If you look at the USA, given it was the centre of the PC and Internet revolutions, access to a PC for the average household had really slow uptake. We in the West have a horrible habit of only looking at the upper echelons of our society to see how we are doing while ignoring that the average household is poor as hell.

>Egalitarian PC Revolution? What are you smoking? PCs were only available to the very wealthy and only the fortunate and privileged could hope to break into that industry.

Yes. Egalitarian. The prices collapsed from a level where only the rich and businesses could afford them, to a level where EVERYONE could afford them. And to be clear, there were hundreds of different kinds of personal computers at all kinds of price levels. For example, the Commodore64 was priced at a very accessible $595 ($1600 inflation adjusted) in 1982.

>The entire space also quickly became a copyright and patent minefield.

Whatever problems or issues you can point to, you cannot deny the reality of broad adoption of computers in the span of a decade, a trend which continued through the Internet and Mobile revolutions. The copyright and patent issues clearly were not a hindrance.

>We in the West have a horrible habit of only looking at the upper echelons of our society

What are you talking about? My parents, who were recent immigrants at the time, working menial low-wage jobs, bought a personal computer in late 80s for our household. Trust me, we were not in the 'upper echelons of society', unless the 'upper echelons of society' pick strawberries to supplement income from another minimum wage job.

Most people who grew up in Yugoslavia are fond of it, and they rarely factor the wars in their opinion. That said, prewar Yugoslavia was 1000x better than anything Warsaw Pact.

Slovenia was the richest federal unit within Yugloslavia and I guess that makes them the most successful experiment in socialism like ever. I think at that time they were doing better than the current Greece and Portugal. However, the rest of Yugloslavia wasn't that great.

It was very regional in Yugoslavia. For example, eastern Slovenia was behind Zagreb and some coastal areas of Croatia. It was behind cities like Novi Sad, Belgrade in Serbia and many others. Slovenia as a whole was of course better developed partly due to commerce/proximity with Italy and Austria.

Sarajevo in the 80s was pretty good and it was still behind Zagreb and Belgrade. I moved to northern Italy in 92 and the standard of living wasn't that much better for most people compared to a larger Yugoslavian city in the 80s.

A few aphorisms about Voja Antonić:

1. He was involved as a skeptic and wrote a well-received (among my friends at least) book debunking psychics and various kinds of nonsense. As a teenage boy in Serbia (in the late 90s?), I asked him to translate a portion of the book to English and put the translation on my website. He graciously allowed me to do so. Part of why I wanted to go through that massive effort was to convince an English-speaking girlfriend (whom I've met online!) that astrology is nonsense. You could say that relationship did not last long.

The book is now available as a free PDF on his website. [1] I don't know what happened to my website.

2. He moved to the US at 65 to work SV, and had some emotional things to say about the move. [2] It stuck with me.

(Both links are in Serbian.)

[1]: http://www.voja.rs/dpdl.htm

[2]: https://noizz.rs/intervju/voja-antonic-za-noizz-o-odlasku-u-...

Too bad, I'd have loved to read this astrology debunking. And to forward it to a friend or two :P

You sure you don't still have a copy of it somewhere? 0:-)

You can use the famous Carl Sagan book The Demon Haunting World instead. Voja's book was inspired by it and covers the same topics in similar manner.

Slight correction: _The Demon-Haunted World_, Sagan, 1995.

Luckily we have today online translate services. I've copied the first 2 pages from the "Astrology" chapter from the linked PDF of the book to give you an idea how the automatic translation looks like:

"In order to understand astrology well, it is necessary to know it from the very roots. It originated in ancient Babylon, around 1000 BC, although some historians claim that astrology was conceived by the Sumerians, a whole millennium earlier. The precondition for the existence of large cities was well-developed agriculture, and this required knowledge of a precise calendar, as agricultural who had to know when to start sowing and how to adapt all agricultural work to the seasons. Establishing an accurate calendar is not it was possible without a good knowledge of mathematics and constant astronomy observations, and these jobs were most suitable for priests (the picture shows a stone on which is a record of the movement of the Moon, found in Mesopotamia). Thus the first astronomers were clergy, and it is logical that celestial bodies, which they discovered, were named after the then Babylonian gods. We we still use those names, actually theirs Roman translations: Mars instead of Nergal, Venus instead of Ishtar, Jupiter instead of Marduk and so on further.

Here we come to the first paradox which is an integral part of astrology: although the names of the gods were assigned to the planets in the random order in which they were discovered, the meaning and the significance that each particular planet carries with it bears is firmly attached to the role of the god by whom it is got its name, and it has remained unchanged to this day. For example, Nergal (Mars) is the god of war, so the summers that began with a stronger the radiance of the planet Nergal in the sky was immediately women as particularly suitable for military campaigns, and the springs in which the splendor of Ishtar (Venus, the goddess of love) was emphasized, were destined to be concluded marriages.

Same as for the planets, and for the stellar constellations the rule was that people born in a certain sign of the zodiac were attributed traits derived from the name of the sign. In the Babylonians, the number of characters that consisted of constellations initially changing between 6 and 18, but stabilized at about 600 BC 12. Soon the first horoscopes appeared: the oldest known dates from April 29, 410 BC. By the way, the division of the zodiac into 12 signs is not even today valid worldwide - Chinese and Indian horoscopes have 28, and Toltec cultures (in Central America) 20 characters. However, he respects all these horoscopes is the principle that the characteristics of people born in someone character directly depends on the name of that character. The oldest surviving critique of astrology was written by Cicero in 44 BC new era. His philosophical skepticism could not relate human characteristics to astronomical parameters at birth. He states that he would it would be more logical to establish the influence of meteorological conditions on the child at the time of birth, but not to notice any connection there either. The Greeks learned about astrology when they conquered Babylon in the fourth century BC, and the Romans took it from the Greeks. Before the end of the twelfth century ideas were taken over by northern Europe, so astrology soon entered the then school system. Around the seventeenth century, the sudden rise of science (primarily astronomy) caused the expulsion of astrology from European universities, so thus we come to another great paradox: its “golden age” astrology not experienced during the Middle Ages, when people were deeply religious and knowledge was transmitted mainly orally, but only since 1930, when British astrologer Naylor (R. H. Naylor) received an entertaining column in the daily newspaper in which he introduces an innovation: the horoscope! The interest of the audience in reading the fate was such that in record time all the papers got theirs horoscopes, and astrology experts sprouted like mushrooms afterwards rain. Today, for example, 96% of people in Europe know in which sign they were born, and only 34% know their blood type."

There's a great talk about it that also has more technical details on CCC: The ultimate Galaksija talk [1]

[1]: https://media.ccc.de/v/29c3-5178-en-the_ultimate_galaksija_t...

That was an amazing lecture by Tomaz Solc. His contributions and work on recreating the Galaksija in a more modern, yet entirely authentic edition are nothing short of amazing.

Wayback has a site about a (2018) replica build of the Galaksija.[0] It includes links to multiple sites with a lot more technical details. One of them [1] has a schematic, parts-list, and board-layout diagram. (Software???)



There were a lot of DYI computer schemes in USSR in my childhood. Mostly because getting your hands onto a ready-made one outside workplaces and some very advanced schools was nearly impossible, but there were a bunch of schemes published in popular technical journals. From those, with luck, some access to electronic components (also not always easy but easier than getting the whole computer) and decent skills with a soldering iron, one could make a working computer. Output would go to the TV, and some had persistent storage using a cassette recorder. Since there was no internet, of course, if you want a game, or another program (but it usually would be a game), you have to copy it from your friends (and if you ask where the first friend got it - no idea... probably somebody got it from official developers or brought from overseas? but all games of that period I've seen were copied from friends).

The difficulty of getting transistors in the early 70's (to fix one's time machine): https://youtu.be/m3xVdxDWFWU?t=2700

Do you remember if it was true that milspec had in general better tolerances than commercially sold components?

yes. The same components, just better binned, marked "VP" - "Voennaya Priemka" ("Military Acceptance"). Like a consumer binned resistor could be 10-15% off the target, VP - no more than 5%. Our main source of electronic components were military electronic hardware dumps around our Navy base :)

Antonić’s microcomputer contained only 4K bytes of program memory—a veritable drop-in-the-bucket compared to any laptop today.

Standard laptop RAM = 8GB? So 2,000,000 “drops” of 4KB.

Standard bucket = 12l? So 120,000 100µL drops.

So considerably smaller than a drop in a bucket.

My friend got a Galaksija (he did not build it himself, but got it from someone who did) and the gaming parties he organized when he got this computer was my first real encounter with computing. Prior to that I only read about computers in magazines.

One needs to understand that at that time it was hard to buy a regular home computer in Yugoslavia because of market specifics and some import restrictions (in order to encourage local production and improve the local economy).

Many smuggled computers in personal luggage. Sinclair's ZX Spectrum was particularly target of jokes because of the rubber buttons, so people said it to the customs officer (when caught) that it was a programmer for the laundry machine (due to the use of rubber).

Later I bought a Commodore 64 via a official channel through the Commodore representative in the country. I waited several months for the import approval and shipping.

I'll have to ask my dad where my Commodore 64 came from in mid 80s Sarajevo.

This is a great story, but most of the anecdotes are very familiar to someone who has studied (or was there for) the early era of home computing in the West. The Altair, the Heathkit, etc. Bill Gates' infamous Open Letter To Hobbyists was written in that era:


The article treats a lot of this stuff as more unique (and, it seems, ideologically inspired) than it was.

This computer was designed the better part of a decade after Bill Gates's letter. The environment is really completely different - the personal computer revolution has already happened, these people are aware of it, etc. In fact, such computers were available but well outside the budget of many. So it's the story of making a PC from available parts, without hard currency and as cheap as possible - radically cheaper than the early US kits.

To me, the article would have been more informative and satisfying had it dwelled more on the unique elements you mention as opposed to the ways where it resembled the hobbyist PC era, like non-commercial distribution of programs in source form.

Yep, my initial impression of the article was that it didn't do a great job of contextualizing the story and was going to write a comment about that. Then promptly succumbed to someone's-wrong-on-the-internet reflex.

It seems that it took him a couple of decades to understand that piracy of his products may be good for the business: when visiting a university in the US in early 90s, he got asked what Microsoft is doing with the Chinese pirating their products left and right. Bill responded with 'let them get used to it and eventually we'll figure out how to charge for it'. I used to use pirated software all the time.fast forward some years and I'm paying for Photoshop, Acrobat,a whole bunch of Microsoft products and I'll most likely host my app on Azure.


"See also

ZX80 - Sinclair ZX80 which predates the Galaksija by 4 years and has a remarkably similar system design including using the Z80A to drive the video output."

As a kid, probably 12-13, I was a guest member of ETF Computer Club, Dejan Ristanovic and another friend would take me with them to the movies, I remember watching Graduate /w Dustin Hoffman with them. Unforgettable. Probably main reason and inspiration that I became a programmer. If he was born here in the US, he would be a billionaire. Exceptional talent and wonderful man.

This brings back many memories.. I owe my early amazement of being able to "tell machine what you want and it will obey" to guys like that. Here is another nice piece that puts more context on that era and creation of Galaxija [1]

BTW, Voja Antonic left Belgrade few years ago, now living in US.[2]

[1] https://www.usgamer.net/articles/the-story-of-yugoslavias-di...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voja_Antoni%C4%87

I've just done a bit of googling and this guy


Has designed a replica system, with some minor mods to allow for newer easier-to-get logic chips, and better compatibility with newer Z80 CPUs. He offers up the whole design for download - so anyone should be able to build one. I've bookmarked it... I'm definitely interested in making one to add to my retro collection.

Nice find. I'll try to get parts and assemble it for myself as well. Maybe engage my kid into magic of computer science as a side effect ;)

I started on "paper computer" [1]. Real hardware was crazy expensive, even ABC technical magazine was difficult to get.


WOW, that's very cool & clever way to turn a piece of paper + a human into an actual (if a little rudimentary) computer! :)

In the mid 80s, way for most to see a computer over there was to join a club, a school club (called "section") where you could try your hand at programming.

Often enough there wasn't any kind of a tape or disk device, so you had to type your program from a magazine, a printout, or handwritten notes. It took forever, and there were typos and glitches to resolve.

Once, I watched a guy painstakingly type a 200 line basic program. He stepped away for a minute to use the WC, and the joker who sat in his stead bird-pecked "new" and hit enter. That was the end of that evening.

A demoparty should take upon itself to setup a Galaksija demo competition...

This sounds like a Demosplash project.

Wonderful article. I've often wondered if it was possible to have computer culture without a massive industry to support it.

Did the Zilog Z80 require a massive industry to support it? That chip came out of engineers who left Intel.

Nothing like the industry now, but the Z-80 and contemporary chips (8085, 6502, 680x) came from companies (Intel, MOS, Motorola) that were as massive as the industry was at the time. The 6502 (Apple, Atari) came out of engineers who left Motorola.

The original ARM chip came from engineers at Acorn seeing first hand how few people were involved in the creation of the 6502 they were using in the BBC Micro and deciding they could have a go at a RISC chip themselves.

There's a lot to be said for having a go to see how far you can get.

You definitely need electronics industry at least. But designing the schemes and writing the software can be done by hobbyists up to some level.

Slight tangent, but not sure if you ever saw this article about the Cobra: https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2017/11/the-underground-stor...

Off topic, but ha, this funny. "Tito" and "anti-authoritarian" in the same paragraph, just LOLz. The intro is a bit off, politically.

On a less off-topic note, checkout Bulgaria's wildly successful clone of the Apple II in 1979: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pravetz_computers

In fact it really was anti-authoritarian.

Just a simple comparison to western democraties. In a typical democracy the parties list candidates and you vote for them.

Here candidates for representatives were proposed by interested members of the public on larger gatherings, by simple shouting someones name.

The introduction in the article is historically accurate, compared to the countries behind the so called “iron curtain” that land was indeed different.


“Soviet-installed governments ruled the Eastern Bloc countries, with the exception of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which retained its independence and changed its orientation away from the Soviet Union in the late 1940s to a progressively independent worldview.”

From the article:

“Along with Egypt, Ghana, India, and Indonesia, the country founded the “non-aligned movement,” a patchwork of developing nations aspiring to chart a decolonial “third option” of formal neutrality during the Cold War. This constituted one of the few genuine anti-authoritarian, anti-imperial international alliances of the twentieth century.”

That doesn’t mean that the leader wasn’t treated as the “unique and only.”

Correct. Croatian-American here who has family that emigrated from former Yugoslavia.

While Yugoslavia was east of the iron curtain, it was never actually behind the iron curtain. It was never an eastern soviet bloc state, and it was never a part of the USSR. This whole page deserves a read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cominform#Expulsion_of_Yugosla...

There were inherent flaws in the soviet system from the beginning, that would ultimately be Achilles heels. For example, the Yugoslavian passport allowed you to effectively travel freely (without visas, usually) back and forth on both sides of the iron curtain.

Also, while Americans refer to Yugoslavia's government system as communism, it was technically socialism. Yes, it was effectively a form of communism, and Tito was recognized as "benevolent dictator", but there were differences compared to the soviet bloc states. I am not excusing the horrors and the suffering that went on in Yugoslavia or the soviet bloc states either.

It should be noted that the US would give funds to Yugoslavia to stir up conflict east of the iron curtain. The Yugoslavian system was no more economically successful than the soviet bloc states. It was inherently flawed.

There are also wild stories that come out of the Balkans too: After Tito refused to align with the soviet bloc, Stalin ultimately tried to assassinate Tito 22 times (that we know of). Tito sends Stalin a letter and tells him to stop sending people to Yugoslavia to assassinate him. Because if Stalin does it again, Tito will personally send an assassin to Moscow to kill him (Stalin), and it will only take 1 try.

> east of the iron curtain

I only don't understand why "east of the iron curtain" when the country is on the west of the countries behind the iron curtain, as per Wikipedia link I've given?

> This constituted one of the few genuine anti-authoritarian, anti-imperial international alliances of the twentieth century

It...didn't, though. It wasn't anti-authoritarian at all. Not was the NAM much of an alliance. Nor, as a number of countries closely aligned with the superpowers joined, was it even particularly even a group of non-aligned countries.

> The introduction in the article is historically accurate,

It is not.

> compared to the countries behind the so called “iron curtain” that land was indeed different.

Different, yes. Anti-authorian? A dictatorship? No.

You should look at this from the point of view of a simple citizen.

The old government (king and families) capitulated and some fled. So the country was left on the mercy of the fascists. The people self-organized and self-liberated their country. Those who were the true leaders of this fight, got to lead the newly freed country in 1945. This is why people trusted all these leaders until they died. Tito was one of them but you have to have in mind it was a federation of several independent countries and each had their own local leadership, close to the people.

Unfortunately many of those who succeeded this initial leaders, and this occured during late 80ies and 90ies, in the end become too corrupt.

As for the socialism? All factories were owned by the people. All companies were owned by the people. Try to imagine that all workers in Google jointly owned Google and all major decisions (such as a new CEO, new politics, acquisitions etc) must be agreed upon by all workers (with a vote).

So, when someone preached that capitalism was better and more productive, he was essentially preaching to the workers that they should give away their own company to a single person that would benefit from their effort, or that their own company is stolen from them in the interest of a single person (or a handful of persons).

This system had many flaws and was not sufficently eficient to gain enough to support itself, but people were free. Had guaranteed jobs. Had guaranteed appartments when they formed their own families. Had guaranteed health care. Had guaranteed right of opinion (until they preached stealing other's property).

This, until you needed $1m Dinar for an ice cream cone...

Yes, it was a system that benefited the ordinary citizens, and all the people loved it. All decent people, anyway. If someone came up to criticize it, obviously they were a criminal, and the benevolent Tito, in his love and mercy, would have them locked away so as to prevent them from further damaging glorious Yugoslavian society and harming the people with their corruptive influence, and rehabilitate them into a better person. It was all for their own benefit, you see.

Communism always ends up the same way -- Soviet ties or not.

It may not have been a paragon of freedom and free speech like America but it was also very much not East Germany or the USSR.

Yes. Yugoslavia was different from the mainline communist countries in that it didn't lock its people away behind its borders. They could (and did) visit Western nations and for the most part didn't run away and defect the way the East Germans and Soviets feared their people would given the chance.

> If someone came up to criticize it, obviously they were a criminal, and the benevolent Tito, in his love and mercy, would have them locked away so as to prevent them from further damaging glorious Yugoslavian society

Do you have any examples of such people "locked away"? I don't believe you'd find any as soon as the years of breaking up with Stalin passed.

The politics of the country was such that it was really between NATO countries and Soviet-Union countries, and people from there were able to travel freely in both directions, so it was opposite of needing to "lock away" anybody for something.

Only Stalin's sympathizers were "locked away" at these post WW-II break up times, around 1948. There is enough material about that. But for some other ideas?

One of the most interesting story from these times and these places was "Purloined Yak":


"Tito believed that survival of his government depended upon getting the support of Western powers, particularly the United States. The US saw an opportunity to use a split in the communist bloc to its advantage, including gaining a foothold in the Balkans to help defuse the communist problem facing NATO member Greece.

Starting in 1949, Western nations began limited economic support to Yugoslavia. Two years later, the US began shipping weapons to Tito. Some unofficial sources claim that US military personnel were also sent to Yugoslavia in the early 1950s to help train the Yugoslav Air Force.

In October 1953, the opportunity to provide the US with a Soviet-built fighter aircraft—even temporarily—would have seemed a ready-made way to further cement US-Yugoslav relations."

There is also the FPGA version if anyone is interested - https://github.com/hrvach/Galaksija_MiSTer

The author did a good job and hit the spirit of the times in the former state. The Spectrum and C-64 raised hundreds of IT pioneers in the 1980s. It all always started with pirated tapes but most after a year or two switched to writing code and trying to create their own software. Good times with the exception of politics.

I'd really like a kit of some sort to build one of these. It seems like it could be a fun project to play around with.

There's also a number of issues of the Magazine on archive.org


Wow thanks for digging that up. My dad was a “regular contributor” so it’s really cool to see his work. Računari also, IIRC.

those geniuses broadcast computer programs via airwaves during a radio show. listeners would record it on cassette and play the program on computer. anybody else did that ?

BBC did something similar with its BBC Micro: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC_Micro_expansion_unit#Telet...

Also with the Basicode broadcasts too. I remember the BBC broadcasting these and then us running them on our BBC B at home.


"Radiokomputer" in Polish Radio 4 did this in 80s and early 90s.

First they would speak about the software (usually a game or utility tools), then they would emit the code.

There was no copyright till 1992 (and in practice till late 00s), so people just recorded that, copied, and then sold or exchanged on open-air markets.

BTW that's how CD Projekt (creators of Witcher and Cyberpunk games) started - 2 school friends selling pirated games - but they were a little older so they got their games by paper-mailing people in the west and not from radio :)

I remember in early 90s exchanging cassettes by mail was the way to go for C64 hobbyst in Poland. People advertised on teletext or in computer press and then sent each other several cassettes with software and empty cassettes to be returned with new stuff. Often they added their small demo program with personal stuff at the beginning of the cassette - it was some random sid music, bouncing balls and scrolling text with greetings and sometimes insults towards Atari hobbysts :)

Piracy was the rule for at least the next decade despite the law change. Nobody I knew at school had original software till 00s.

This happened in The Netherlands as well. Here's [0] a mostly English language link to the history of the Basicode system as used in the radio program Hobbyscoop.

[0] https://www.hobbyscoop.nl/the-history-of-basicode/

I was a listener and recorder and loaded some of those programs into my Acorn Electron.

São Paulo's state university in Brazil had one such program where they broadcast software for, IIRC, MSX computers.

Slovenian Radio Študent did this too.

I was once on a seminar where Voja Antonić was presenting, it was in 2011, the guy is still working on computers. He gave awesome lecture on that semninar.

as someone who has never been super interested in hardware or the "hacker" mantra, reading about this DIY basic computer makes me really interested in the space all of the sudden. like modern day equivalents like the raspberry pi exist and have never really interested me, but something about 4k memory really changes something

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