The Compaq Portable was the first 100% compatible IBM computer clone....
Problem: Compaq couldn't just copy IBM's BIOS to make their new machine guaranteed IBM compatible, this would be illegal, and easily proven by IBM.
Solution: Reverse-engineer IBM's BIOS. Compaq used two sets of programmers, one group who had access to IBM's source code and another who knew nothing about it.
The first group closely looked at the original code, and made notes of exactly what it did.
The second group took these notes, and wrote their own BIOS that performed exactly the same.
After one year and a million dollars, they were successfull. They had a legal BIOS identical in operation to that of the IBM computer.
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