QL is 30 - Sinclair QL 30th Anniversary (1984-2014)!

Latest site addition: Skiing with David Karlin
Recent site additions: Up for a drink with Rick Dickinson! | The Edinburgh Show with a surprise! | New scenes of The Movie released! | Jan Jones' 2014 ebook re-release "QL SuperBASIC - The Definitive Handbook"

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On January 12th 1984 Sir Clive Sinclair presented the Sinclair QL Professional Computer in a typical Sinclair-extravaganza style launch event at the Intercontinental Hotel, Hyde Park Corner, London. This was exactly 12 days earlier than Steve Jobs presented the Apple Macintosh. While the Mac did it in the long run and is a mainstream product in the present and future, the QL went into dust. Before leaving the field, the QL inspired many experts and influenced today's products in one way or another. Most prominent example is Linux, where its creator Linus Torvalds was a QL hacker back in the 80s. To learn more about all that please read this.

The QL is worth remembering. This website hosts or links all 30th anniversary activities and will grow over the next few months so bookmark it and keep on visiting frequently. Share it with friends; post it on social media and your other communication channels.

The Movie

This is an exclusive "QL is 30" release! This movie consists of several independent scenes (intro, scene 1, scene 2, and so forth) - 1st scene is called "The Collection", a launch-day anniversary special published on January 12th 2014 - which are being produced and uploaded during the anniversary year and added to this unique YouTube playlist. Subscribe to the QLvsJAGUAR channel to get notified about new videos. Watch, like, share or comment the videos and do not forget to carefully read the video description as they will lead you to exclusive specials only available through the links in the video descriptions.

The Story

Over the decades many QL stories have been written. One of the most recent and comprehensive ones is the Interview with David Karlin the QL's Chief Design Engineer, first published in September 2013 in the QL Today magazine. For those who can read German there's a nicely illustrated (worth looking at for all) story by Jürgen Malberg, published by the RETURN magazine in winter 2013. And there's this archaeologic story by Tony Smith of The Register, published on the anniversary day. Enjoy reading.

The Repository

Visit and bookmark the website sinclairql.net, THE REPOSITORY of the Sinclair QL Preservation Project (SQPP)! Watch out for other comprehensive QL resources like Dilwyn Jones' QL information and PD software website (a great site for QL software downloads), the huge QL Picture Gallery ( The new version 3.30 consists of almost 2000 pictures) or the QL Wiki (a great site for historical information).

The Distribution

QL is 30 2014 The Distribution DVD Version 3.00

Lucerne, Jan 12th 2014 - COWO Enterprises LLC proudly announces QL is 30 2014 The Distribution. This distribution is the successor to the QL Today 2013 The Final DVD which was sent out to subscribers in September 2013 with The Final Issue of the QL Today magazine. The new version 3.00 holds everything which was on the DVD, but has been carefully updated and supplemented with new material - we have been able to add some real long lost gems and an exclusive new release of a formerly commercial package - created or preserved during the last few months. Altogether there are almost 4.7 GB of QL related documents, software and pictures on this distribution. Preconfigured QL emulators for use under Windows, Mac OS and even Linux make it easy to bring the QL (back) to your desk. A great way to (re-)start programming for the QL or using QL programs. QL is 30 2014 The Distribution is free which means it can be downloaded, used and re-distributed to friends by anyone at no cost. In good old Sinclair manner we have to state: Please allow 28 days from receipt of order for delivery. Order your free download copy using the email address listed in the Feedback section.
Update: No need to order anymore, just go and get it on sinclairql.net website, THE REPOSITORY of the Sinclair QL Preservation Project (SQPP)

The Party

As there were initially no real "QL is 30" meetings, events, shows or the like announced, the party started virtually on the web. Many places in the internet (various Websites, YouTube videos, Forum discussions, Google+ posts and even old-school Mailing-list posts) are the place to celebrate, participate and contribute. Recently joined the party [submit your website to be listed here if it has some relevant "QL is 30" content]:

  • The British IBM, Cambridge based 90s Britpop indie rock band.

  • The Register, Forum with comments to the archaeologic story "Sinclair’s 1984 big shot at business: The QL is 30 years old".

  • Dickinson Associates, Design Office of Rick Dickinson, the former Sinclair Industrial Designer.

  • QBlog, el blog sobre Sinclair QL en castellano (Spanish).

  • 8Bit-Museum, The Dot Eaters & The Number Crunchers (German).

  • John Alexander's Blog.

  • Tero Heikkinen's Blog.

  • Commodore64crap Blog.

  • Stephen Usher' Blog.

  • QUANTA's Blog.

  • ZX Team, QL Forum (German). On Saturday April 5th 2014 there was THE QLers meeting at the 18. ZX-TEAM-Meeting in Mahlerts, Germany. Not that this was enough for the weekend, there was this huge new old stock (NOS) job lot of boxed QLs to be picked up! Watch the videos and pictures of THE Sinclair Weekend of 2014:

  • Wolfgang Lenerz's QL stuff. Wolfgang released some new software in 2014 including the games SoQLoban and Atomics.

  • Box-Sets released (QL Forum Post). Rich Mellor of RWAP released 4 in a series of box-sets of QL Software, to mark the 30th anniversary of the Sinclair QL.

  • Didier Lüthi's Sinclair Collection Blog. Sinclair QL and Apple Macintosh celebrate 30 years at the computer museum Bolo on the EPFL cmapus in Lausanne, Switzerland (French).

  • On Thursday September 4th 2014, Urs König met Rick Dickinson (while he was on vacation in Switzerland) - the former Sinclair Industrial Designer - for a drink at the lakeside Restaurant of the Beau Rivage Hotel in Weggis at the beautiful Lake Lucerne.
    Rick gave me a chin impact with the QL... ;-)
    Not really, we had great fun that evening! :-)
    Posing almost like Clive and Nigel at the 1984 launch event, at least sort of ;-)
    QL keyboard backplate signed by Rick <3
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  • The computer museum Bolo at the EPFL campus in Lausanne, Switzerland - took part in La Nuit des Musées 2014 on Saturday, September 27th, 2014 from 2:00 p.m. to 0:00 - did exhibit several machines celebrating their anniversary this year, including the Sinclair QL and the Apple Macintosh. Some reports in French by Didier Lüthi: Rencontre avec Urs König aka QLvsJAGUAR, Nuit des musées 2014 Nuit des musées 2014 – le Sinclair QL fête ses 30 ans !. Watch the videos on the QLvsJAGUAR YouTube channel and pictures of this great event.

  • QL SuperBASIC - The Definitive Handbook - ebook 2014 You might be interested to know that Jan Jones - author of the QL's SuperBASIC programming language - has epublished a new edition of her book QL SuperBASIC - The Definitive Handbook. It's taken a little while, because it proved to be impractical to scan it in - so she has retyped and reformatted it! Jan believes it should be available in all Amazon markets now, and can be read on the free-to-download Kindle-for-PC software if people don't have an actual hand-held Kindle. The new cover is lovely, the book is priced at a very reasonable £5 - the only thing missing from the original is the index, which is slightly tricky on a book with no page numbers. Kindles do have a text-search capability though, which should help.

  • On Sunday February 1st 2015, Urs König met David Karlin (while he was attending a classical music festival in Switzerland) - the former Chief Design Engineer at Sinclair - for a joint ride on the slopes of Gstaad. While at Sinclair David designed the electronics of the QL. Read all about this in this Interview with David Karlin.
    I left home at around 6:45, and hey; the motorway driving conditions were really difficult ;-)
    I love those driving conditions ;-)
    Arriving in Gstaad!
    Urs and David after 4 hours of skiing :-)
    David typing on the QL keyboard in the Restaurant of Hotel Bernerhof, Gstaad
    David - with a big smile - presenting the QL in the Restaurant of Hotel Bernerhof, Gstaad
    Keep on smiling! :-)
    This QL keyboard backplate is now signed also by David <3
    QL PCB (an 1984 ISS6, uncut, unpopulated) signed by David
    Again heavy snow on the way back home...
    QL keyboard backplate and PCB signed by David
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    The Show

    Together with some friends I ran a show for "QL is 25" on the weekend October 31st/November 1st 2009 - can't believe it's already 5 years! - and can tell you that it's great fun attending a QL show and even more fun running it or being part of the people who make it happen. There have been a number of Forum and Mailing-list discussions since spring 2013 about a possible "QL is 30" show to be organised and held in 2014. On May 7th 2014 - after many moons of uncertainness - Geoff Wicks of "Just Words!" confirmed that the Scottish QL User Group (SQLUG) will run a - if not THE - QLis30 show on Saturday October 11th 2014 in Edinburgh with a Celebration Dinner the night before the show. Click on the event logo below to read all about it.

    Event webpage (offsite-link)

    The Show was awesome and the Dinner ended with a surprise! Peter Scott blogged live from the event. Read the report by Geoff Wicks. Watch the videos on the QLvsJAGUAR YouTube channel and pictures of this great event. Here's the surprise!

    The QL Today

    The QL community/scene nowadays - as many other Retro scenes - is mainly connecting/working through the internet. The sites listed under The Repository and under The Party are what makes the QL to stay alive. Individuals all over the world are tinkering around/with the QL and keep the thing going. E.g. 2014 saw the release of QL-SD a fully integrated SD card interface for the QL. The Distribution - a huge compilation of documentation, software and pictures - is a good (re-)starting point to do QL tinkering.


    How did you like this site and the various anniversary activities (videos, articles, downloads, announcements, etc.)? What would you like to see in the future? What could you contribute? Feedback is highly appreciated. Ask not what the QL community can do for you, ask what you can do for the QL community. (Freely adapted from John F. Kennedy)

    (replace -at- with @)

    Happy 30th anniversary!

    Final Update

    Today April 23rd 2016 I decided to do a last & final update to this site: April 23rd, what does this date say to us? Saint George's Day, The Bayerische Reinheitsgebot (regarding the ingredients of beer) was signed 500 years ago, William Shakespeare died on that day 400 years ago, the Sinclair ZX Spectrum was launched 34 years ago. Great day in history!

    The QL's official life span was from January 1984 to April 1986 when Amstrad axed the QL. Well, I've seen some Samsung made QLs manufactured in May 1986, but those were most likely built that month on behalf of the last valid order from Sinclair Research Ltd.

    Although 2 ¼ years sound like a short period and I cannot remember how long it felt back in the 80s, I personally felt exactly how long it is when I judge the "QL is 30" activities which started on the QL's 30th launch anniversary back on January 12th 2014. Even I was busy in both life and work I've spent quite an amount of time (several hundred hours) for and with the QL during the last 26 months. To name just the major milestones like this website, "QL IS 30 2014 - THE DISTRIBUTION", the ZX-TEAM-meetings 2014, 2015 and 2016 in Germany, meeting Rick Dickinson and David Karlin again in 2014 and 2015, attending La Nuit des Musées 2014 in Switzerland, the QLis30 dinner and workshop in Scotland, the sinclairql.net website, THE REPOSITORY of the Sinclair QL Preservation Project (SQPP), testing and integrating new versions of SMSQ/E and SMSQmulator, updates to QL/E and THE DISTRIBUTION, this was a very intense QL period, at least for me.

    Today is the release of the final version 3.04 of "QL IS 30 2014 - THE DISTRIBUTION". This marks the end of my "QL is 30" activities.

    QL forever!

    Cheers, Urs König (aka QLvsJAGUAR)

    Site produced (p) and copyright (c): 2014-2016, Urs König

    Page created: January 10th 2014 | Published: January 12th 2014 | Last Updated: April 23rd 2016