4 thoughts on “The Fall Of The Software Commons”

  1. Why, when I was young . . . weeeee didn’t have cee-plus-plus and Pie-thon. No siree!

    When the power went out on our PDP-8, weeeee had to enter the “boot loader” into “magnetic core” by flipping front panel switches for “octal” codes by hand. And we had to load a paper tape into a reader, which gave us paper cuts! And we did this until our fingers . . . bled! And we loiked it!

    (Actually all of this is true. And when the Altair came out, I thought I needed to get me one of those. It was just like the PDP-8 at engineering school, only I could have my own instead of sharing it. And then I thought, “Nah, I had better pass on this and complete my degree. If I buy one, it will take up all my time programming it in assembler that I will end up dropping out of school . . .”)

  2. I think we forget that software development is still in its infancy, more art than science. Programmers have also benefited greatly from Moore’s Law; it isn’t like we exhausted all the possibilities for 8 bit systems before 16 bit systems came along, and a doubling in the “time efficiency” of code occurs on a much longer timescale than the 18 months for hardware.

    We still haven’t reached the limits for what 8-bit systems can do. They’ve just been shrunk down to the size of a credit card or USB dongle.

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