Historical notes

©Information Disciplines, Inc.


These documents describe events in the computing field that took place more than about twenty-five years ago. Younger readers will be interested in explanations of how things got to be the way they are now. Older readers may enjoy a nostalgic reminiscence.

Some of these reminiscences are about technical issues—programming languages, machines, operating systems, etc. Others are about people or organizations. All of them rely on fading memories, so please let me know if you spot something that conflicts with your understanding.

—Conrad Weisert, cweisert@acm.org.

New in 2016

Taking Pride or Risking Sabotage?—When should large computers be displayed or run in public?

New in 2015

Simulating an Obsolete Computer in 1960—The Univac 1103A lived again!

Is Java Bytecode the New UNCOL?—An old idea takes over our modern computing environments.

New in 2014

We Never Lost a 2314 Disk PackIs smaller always better?

New in 2013

Margaret Butler—another colleague, friend, and pioneer leaves us.

New in 2012

Does the world need another programming language?—When did we first have too many programming languages?

The Great IBJOB Subroutine Linkage Controversy—Users persuade IBM to retract a silly specification.

New in 2011

The Passing of Two Leaders—Dennis Ritchie and Steve Jobs have left us.
False Compatibility Failed to Sway Market
—Did Spectra 70's designers understand what the market wanted?
Must Time and distance Obscure Truth?
—Was IBM's first PL/1 compiler really buggy?
Origin of LISP's strange keywords—By Carzand Cudders

Older articles

The Great Green Words Controversy—SHARE won another one for the users.
Recollections by a senior IBM scientist of the IBM 1401
—the most widely used and influential small second-generation computer.
How Long Can a Data Name Be?
—Why popular programming languages established their rules for names.
Reminiscences of Fortran—Thoughts upon the passing of John Backus
The Strange Case of Grace Murray Hopper—Why can't we find anything she wrote?
Reminiscences and Myths about COBOL—Misinformation continues to dominate

Other articles on this web site address historical issues as background for today's methodologies.

Your contributions are invited.


Last modified August 3, 2015

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