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Fired with enthusiasm by the spectacular launch of the new Sinclair QL,
software houses wasted no time in
placing their orders for one (or 10!) of
Sir Clive's wonder- machines. Naturally they were keen to start writing all
manner of new and interesting programs to keep the new QL owner
suitably amused. That dream soon
got lost amidst the mountain of unfilled orders and discarded
production schedules. However, still undaunted, YS decided to track down
any brave (foolhardy?) pioneers out
there, eager to be first in the great QL
race - when it begins that is! |
OUT IN THE COLDParanoia seemed the order of the day. Most of the software producers we talked to all seemed to think that some independents had some kind of special relationship with Sinclair Research that enabled them to receive early machines, they being left out in the cold. This was echoed by John Fletcher of PSS who said "There are perhaps one or two software houses who might have a QL, but we certainly don't". He did add, however, that when a machine did arrive they would consider putting something together.
A little more optimistic, if just a touch confused, was Carol Hewlett from CDS Microsystems. When asked if CDS had any plans for producing QL software she said, "We're definitely writing software for the QL, but at this stage I can't tell you what it is". Was it going to be business or games software? Even education, perhaps? No good, Ms Hewlett wouldn't be drawn. So what about the machine itself. Do you actually have a QL, we asked. "Yes, I think so," she said. A strange answer, considering the vast number of people who would give an arm and a leg - if not other more valued parts of their anatomy - to have one available. We asked Ms Hewlett to check her stock of QLs. She said she would and promised to phone back. We're still waiting.
GLIMMER OF HOPEJust in case CDS are, in fact, QL-less (and good news anyway for all those who want to know what's happened to their orders), Carnell's Stuart Galloway offers a glimmer of hope. He phoned Sinclair Research at the beginning of March to enquire what had happened to his machine; his cheque having already been cashed. He was told by a "pleasant young lady" that the first batch of QLs were going out the very next day.She didn't tell him to hold his breath - and he hasn't. These delays, however, don't worry Mr Galloway. Two weeks before the machine was launched, he
|Around the Houses||
Power's Chris Payne who said "we
will be writing software for the QL,
when we can get hold of one. But for
the time being, we'll just have to wait".
However, plans do seem to be afoot,
because Chris says "we'll be
approaching QL software development from both angles, ie. business
and games". He also didn't miss the
opportunity to perpetuate a few
rumours, by saying "I'd heard the
Basic hadn't been finished yet" which
should please the technical staff at
Sinclair Research. |
Spreading gossip was obviously the order of the day because Mr Payne proceeded to let slip that his colleague was "one of those Cambridge (or was it Oxford?) dons, who's done plenty of work on the 68000 chip" (although the gentleman in question, John Haig, might not like that to be too widely known).
Both Mikro-Gen and Quicksilva felt that their existing close links with Sinclair Research had had absolutely no effect on them getting an early machine. In fact, Mikro-Gen's Mr Denial (Who he? Ed.) kept very quiet, and would only say that "it's early days yet - we've nothing planned". And Quicksilva's Paul Cooper told us that they were "having lots and lots of talks with Sinclair Research, but it doesn't appear to be having any effect". It's the same old story of a software house with "plans and ideas for QL software" who will just have to wait "until one turns up". Mr Cooper was also in the mood for joining the gutter grapevine. He said "I heard rumours at the LET show that machines wouldn't be available until the third quarter" - which may well turn out to be nearer the truth than many would like to think.
Artic, like everyone else, is just waiting to get its hands on a machine. Their Margaret Turner remarked that the "plan is to transfer some of our Spectrum software to the QL".
A GOOD LEADThere is, of course, one company in the land that's had no trouble at all laying its hands on a machine - and that's Psion. Talking to Charles Davis about the immediate future, he said "We're continuing to produce software for the QL, in addition to the four packages already announced. But it would detract from the impact of future releases if we were to talk about them now". He did mention, however, that Flight Simulation would be available in the near future. But what about independent software producers? Mr Davis again: "My view is that everyone will be producing software for the QL, but we have a good lead, as we've got some machines". Lucky for some!
With tongues wagging throughout the industry, Ron Smith, software sleuth, tracks down the rumours to their source and tries to answer the question on everybody's lips - just who has got a QL?
signed up a programmer "who knows
the 68008 like the back of his hand",
and has got to the point where he's
completed a utility program on paper
- all he needs now is a machine to
test it on! |
Equally interested, though less concerned with trying to write software at present, is Bug-Byte. Their Tony Baden feels that "it could well be Christmas before the QL is in the shops", and if that does turn out to be the case, as he says "there's very little point in rushing". Another stumbling block, according to Baden, is the lack of a cassette interface. This, he feels, could be a serious disadvantage, especially when coupled with the apparent lack of QL Microdrives.
SPREADING GOSSIPThe doom-laden and negative comments continued with Program
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