Seeking reverse-engineers - Apple II VisiCalc (Software and Engineering Work product destruction)
jws at jwsss.com
Thu Jan 29 11:48:18 CST 2009
I was at Microdata in the lat 70's when they decide to get rid of all
their older 16xx mini computer software. I consisted of 30' of 6' card
racks. Each tray was several releases of their drivers, and they had
essentially maintained an svn or software revision repository in cards.
I was the only one who had had any interest since starting work there 5
years earlier. I was luck to be given access to the cards for 2 months
before they were recycled. I could have taken them, but didn't have the
room at the time to do that, so I copied all of the latest revisions to
1/2" tape and stored it. This remains the only record of the source of
this that exists.
I also had the chance to get a copy of most of the other drawings and
was able to retain those for historical purposes.
I know the attitude of the management was 100% that it was not of any
value once customers were deemed to all be gone. Read that Paying
customers. My copies did save them in a couple cases doing favors for
some who called too late.
I have been fortunate to be given access to discards at two other
companies as well and did my best to maintain the data, both engineering
One company I worked for in the last 10 years discarded their "golden"
master eproms and pal sets (to me) as hardware scrap.
If you or someone is not there in the right place at the right time, and
the conditions exist to legally obtain the stuff does not exist, then
things are just destroyed as Al says.
I doubt that the conditions I have encounted as described above would
happen in these IP crazy days.
Al Kossow wrote:
> I respectfully disagree. Once a product reaches end of life, it is
> disposed of.
> Unlike entertainment products, which can be resold to the next
> generation, old
> software has been perceived as having no commercial value and is
> discarded either
> to avoid its availability for legal discovery, when a company is sold,
> or when they
> need the space or get tired of paying storage costs for it.
I know that simple stupidity or lack of vision also causes this and the
question about saving the goods is usually asked with about the
intelligence of the poor girlfriend in the current Carl's Jr. ad running
who thinks she will get a steak dinner at Carls because of some Steak
"oh you mean we could have used that again? huh"
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