Dyspeptic archaeologists [was RE: Xerox Alto on ebay (not mine!)]
IanK at vulcan.com
Mon Oct 18 21:20:00 CDT 2010
Can I have an AMEN? :-)
I have often been as blind as anyone as to the importance of business IT in the history of information technology. Given that this was the driving force for the industry for many years, we need to understand it. Yes, I think RPG is Really Pretty Gross - but as someone who wants to understand how we got from There to Here, I need to understand it and the driving factors behind its development and adoption. Sorry, sometimes the 'crap' is the 'gold' in historical terms.
Everyone, take a step back, and a deep breath. -- Ian
From: cctalk-bounces at classiccmp.org [cctalk-bounces at classiccmp.org] On Behalf Of Al Kossow [aek at bitsavers.org]
Sent: Monday, October 18, 2010 6:01 PM
To: cctalk at classiccmp.org
Subject: Re: Dyspeptic archaeologists [was RE: Xerox Alto on ebay (not mine!)]
On 10/18/10 4:38 PM, William Donzelli wrote:
> Or better yet, how about all those financial programs
> written in RPG or COBOL? Yes, their may be some super cool thing some
> bored coder did way before it was "invented", but I bet you will have
> to go through a whole lot of...crap...to find that gem.
The reason for saving RPG and COBOL isn't to look for clever things, it
is to preserve how day to day business was performed using the computing
equipment of the time. This is the same reason to preserve system design
and procedure manuals for end-user applications.
This stuff is even more difficult to find than manufacturer-supplied software!
I have spent the past few months collecting EAM and EDP books and conference
proceedings from the 50's -> 70's, because CHM had almost nothing on case
studies and descriptions of business processes (payroll, inventory, and
accounts payable/receivable, etc.) from the punched-card era forward.
It's hard to write an overview of software in the 20th century for docents
without basic reference material on how non-scientific computing was done.
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