January 5

Texas Instruments (TI) releases a prototype of Extended Basic and a 32KB Memory Expansion to select users of the TI-99/4 home computer for beta testing, six months in advance of their release to retailers. The tests are generally criticized by industry insiders as “too little, too late”, since most of Texas Instrument’s competitors have already made similar expansions standard.

Richard Stallman founds the GNU Project, which will later lead to the Free Software Foundation.

At the Consumer Electronics Show CES, Atari introduces the Atari XE and Atari ST lines of computers. These lines include: the Atari 65XE computer, with 65xx processor and 64 kB RAM for US$120; the Atari 65XEM, which is an Atari 65XE with a built-in music synthesizer, for US$150; the Atari 65XEP, which is a portable Atari 65XE with a built-in monitor and 3.5-inch disk drive; the Atari 130XE, which is an Atari 65XE with 128KB RAM, for US$140; the Atari 130ST, featuring 128KB RAM, 192KB ROM, Digital Research’s GEM operating system, 32KB screen RAM, a MIDI interface, and a mouse for U$399; the Atari 260ST, featuring 256KB RAM for US$499; and the Atari 520ST, featuring 512KB RAM, 192KB ROM, Digital Research’s GEM operating system, 32KB screen RAM, a MIDI interface, and a mouse for U$599. Dubbed the “Jackintosh” by media outlets, the 520ST is marketed as a system as powerful as a Macintosh for half the price. At the Consumer Electronics Show CES, Commodore unveils the Commodore 128 personal computer. It features a 8502 processor, Z80 processor, 128KB RAM, and a ROM cartridge port for US$300. Commodore also introduces the Commodore LCD laptop computer with built-in software, a modem, and a flip-top screen, and the 1571 Disk Drive for the Commodore 128.

Version 2.000 of the Perl programming language is released.

Nintendo files a countersuit against Tengen Games, a property of Atari Games Inc., in response to an anti-trust suit Atari brought against Nintendo accusing the company of improperly controlling the supply of game cartridges. In its countersuit, Nintendo alleges that Atari has violated federal and state trademark laws, engaged in fraudulent inducement of their licensing agreement, and had made and sold unauthorized cartridges.

Version 0.12 of Linux kernel is released. The next release will be named version 0.95 in recognition of the kernel’s development into a full-featured operated system.

Texas Instruments (TI) releases the PS-6300, PS-6400 and PS-6500 personal organizers featuring 32K, 64K, and 128K RAM configurations. Price: US$80, US$90, US$120, respectively TI-92Texas Instruments (TI) releases the TI-92 handheld calculator which “combines the power of a computer math lab with the independence of a calculator.” The calculator features a QWERTY keyboard, for which it will be labeled a “computer” rather than a “calculator” by American testing facilities. Subsequently, it can not be used during tests such as the SAT. Price: US$200 Weight: 20oz

The stock value of the Netscape Communications Corporation sinks to an unprecedented low of US$18.56 on trading of 13.9 million shares following the announcement of a fourth quarter loss. Netscape attributes the loss to Microsoft’s policy of giving Internet Explorer away for free to virtually anyone.

At the Macworld Conference & Expo, Apple Computer introduces a new Power Mac G3 series of computers. They feature two-tone blue/white semi-translucent cases with handles at each corner, 300 to 400MHz PowerPC G3 processor, 100MHz system bus, up to 1GB RAM, ATI Rage 128 graphics card, 4 PCI slots, 10/100BaseT Ethernet, a CD or DVD drive, a keyboard, a mouse, two USB ports, and two FireWire ports. Price: US$1,599 – 2,999 At the Macworld Conference & Expo, Connectix introduces the Virtual Game Station, a PlayStation emulator that is compatible with G3 Macintosh computers including desktops, PowerBooks, and iMacs. The systems allows users to assign controller inputs to keyboard commands, and it allows users to “back-up” copies and Gold Disc-based games. Price: US$49 Microsoft releases Internet Explorer 4.5 for the Macintosh.

At the Consumer Electronics Show CES, Bill Gates announces a new version of the Windows CE operating system called Pocket PC. At the Macworld Conference & Expo, Steve Jobs announces that he has accepted the position as full-time CEO of Apple Computer “>Apple Computer.

Adobe Systems releases Macromedia Director MX 2004.

In a number of news stories releases around the Internet, it is revealed that a simple Google query can reveal a listing of publicly accessible security webcams. Version 0.2.5 of the ReactOS operating system is released. This version features notable improvements in stability.

Adobe Systems releases version 2.01 of Adobe Flex, a suite for developing cross platform Internet applications.

Steve Jobs announces he has a Hormone imbalance that is causing a medical condition.