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[ontolog-forum] Unbundling software

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 08 Feb 2014 14:44:38 -0500
Message-id: <52F68926.3010203@xxxxxxxxxxx>
David,    (01)

> Historical note that I'm sure John Sowa knows (or will correct me on):
> ADR can be credited with creating the software business since they
> successfully sued IBM.  IBM then unbundled—up until then software came
> free with the hardware—and it was game on...    (02)

Following is a quotation from Wikipedia that briefly summarizes the
case that caused the major upheaval.  A suit by one company wouldn't
have mattered much, since it could have been settled out of court.    (03)

> IBM's dominant market share in the mid-1960s led to antitrust inquiries
> by the U.S. Department of Justice, which filed a complaint for the case
> U.S. v. IBM in the United States District Court for the Southern District
> of New York, on January 17, 1969...    (04)

Interesting point: Until then, *most* software was free and open source.
IBM (and other hardware vendors) distributed their operating systems and
compilers in *source code* -- usually assembly language.    (05)

Implications:    (06)

  1. Some of the largest and most sophisticated customers would tailor
     the systems for their environments, which were often highly eclectic
     mixtures of hardware from many vendors.    (07)

  2. Some of them even discovered and fixed bugs before the vendors did.    (08)

  3. User groups for the major manufacturers would often collaborate
     on producing software enhancements to the vendor's versions.    (09)

  4. Example:  The SHARE Operating System (SOS) for the IBM 709x systems
     was produced by SHARE, which consisted of the users of IBM's large
     systems.    (010)

  5. IBM's own OS for those machines was a batch system called FMS
     (FORTRAN Monitor System).  MIT copied that system as the basis
     for their CTSS (Compatible Time Sharing System).    (011)

  6. For the PDP-6, DEC produced the TOPS and later the TOPS-10 systems.
     But MIT wanted more functionality, and they produced the ITS system
     (Incompatible Time Sharing).    (012)

In short, unbundling spurred the development of commercial software,
but it also killed the practice of freely sharing research software.    (013)

Simula-67, for example, was an excellent object-oriented language,
which became available shortly after unbundling.  Unfortunately,
the developers decided to charge money for it.  That's why very few
people know that OO languages that were superior to C++ originated
in the 1960s.    (014)

John    (015)

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