WHEN YOU step into a taxi
outside Port Talbot railway
station, the driver says: ‘You
must want Dragon Data.” A lot
of people want the Welsh
company at the moment, both
at home and in the US, as it
expands the range of
machines it offers.
By this time next year Dra-
gon Data plans to be market-
ing four microcomputers, mov-
ing up gradually to attack the
business market. The first
step is the smallest one: a
CPU swap for the Dragon 32
giving users 64K of RAM. But
after that the steps get bigger
and bigger: the Dragon 64 will
be followed by a £400
machine and a £2,000 busi-
ness model next year.
The guiding force behind
these moves is managing
director Tony Clarke stand-
ing about 6 foot 4 inches tall
he expects to be able to take
them all in his stride.

A computer
as well as a
One of the other striking
things about Dragon Datas
managing director is that he is
an enthusiast as well as a
successful businessman.
While promoting the merits of
the company’s disk drive sys-
tem he extols in detail the
Western Digital controller chip
it uses. Similarly conversation
about the £400 machine
moves into discussion of the
NEC 7220 GDC.
And this enthusiasm
spreads further than semicon-
ductors. Talking of the busi-
ness market, Tony describes
network configurations and
procedures to provide the
automated office of the future.
This includes Mumps, a little
known operating system
which began life, as its name
suggests, with medical ap-
plications but has moved into
the business market on such
machines as Digital Equip-
~ment minis.
Also covered are the virtues
of easy to use systems such
as Apple’s Lisa and Xerox’s
Star incorporating mouse de-
vices. These are desktop con-
trollers which can be used to
move items displayed on a
screen. Microsoft, whose Ex-
tended Colour Basic is used
on the Dragon 32, has recent-
ly introduced a mouse for use
on its Multi-Tool word proces-
sing system.
And in the office outside his
own sits a range of machines
which he will take apart and
examine. Elsewhere in the
company various models
including micros, minis and
computer-aided design sys-
tems are being put through
their paces in practical ap-
As far as the business goes,
Tony has a personal stake in
the success of Dragon Data.
The company began life as a
subsidiary of Mettoy in the
spring of 1982. In November a
consortium, including Tony,
was formed to purchase the
firm which moved to a new
factory in south Wales. Since
then Dragon Data has be-
come the largest privately
owned company in Wales,
and is set to grow even faster
as the new products are laun-
ched and new markets are
The summer launches—the
CPU swap and the disk drive
system immediately move
the Dragon 32 into new mar-
kets as they introduce the
0S9 Unix-like operating sys-
tem from American software
house Microware.
This is a multi-user, multi-
tasking system for small busi-
ness users which has a very
high reputation in the US so
high that some observers
have suggested, tongue-in-
cheek, that it is “too good” for
home computers such as the
Dragon. This hasn’t prevented
other micro manufacturers,
such as Tandy and various
Japanese firms, choosing it.
Another British company,
Positron, uses it on its
£1 ,000+ 9000 system.
As a newer operating sys-
tem it has less applications
software available for it than
more established systems
such as CP/M, but a lot of
languages are already
around, including Basic, Pas-
cal and Cobol. C compilers
are also available which pro-
vide a high degree of software
portability across different lan-
Microware says that “0S9
combines the same friendly
system interfaces found in Bell
Laboratories’ Unix operating
system with an efficient, mod-
ular design that is eminently
practical for use with an adv-
anced 8-bit processor.” And it
adds: “In the future, there will
be upward-compatible ver-
sions for the Motorola 68000
Tony Clarke talks to Graham Cunningham about
Dragon Data’s future as the company prepares to
attack new markets at home and abroad.
Tony Clarke introducing 0S9 on the new Dragon Data disk drive system, and heading west
22 Dragon User July 1983