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The class emerged in the 1960s and machines were generally known at the time as minicomputers - especially models from Digital Equipment Corporation (PDP line), Data General, Hewlett-Packard (HP3000 line), and successors), and Sun Microsystems (SPARC Enterprise). These were widely used in science and research as well as for business.
Since 1990s, when the client–server model of computing became predominant, computers of the comparable class are instead universally known as servers to recognize that they usually "serve" end users at their "client" computers. Since the client–server model was developed in Unix-like operating systems, using this term frequently implies support of standard—rather than proprietary—protocols and programming interfaces.