[rescue] Does any one on the list run this?

Andrew Hoerter amh at POBOX.COM
Sat Jun 8 17:05:38 CDT 2013

On 6/8/13, Carl R. Friend <crfriend at rcn.com> wrote:

>     I'll be willing to bet that most everybody on this list is
> aware of that family -- and some of us have actually had the
> privilege of running one.  But, how many folks who don't share
> this passion know that "personal computing" is better than a
> half-century old -- with machines specifically designed to
> embrace the concept?
>     One of the demons I grapple with occasionally is how to get
> fresh blood into the field and get them to share the same degree
> of passion about "retrocomputing" that we (as list members here)
> already share.
> [much good stuff snipped]

Very eloquently said, Carl, and I think it resonates with many of us
in this hobby.

Related to the "fresh blood" issue is the question of how to conserve
these machines past the individual lifetimes of those who own them.
Not everything is in a museum, but there are certainly hobbyists out
there with collections worthy of being called a museum.  I sometimes
worry about the fate of these things after the unfortunate, but
inevitable, death of their owners.

>     But I wonder if there's really much interest in the concept
> of computing history amongst the general population.  Everybody
> seems happy with the current notion that computing dates to
> 1981.  When I think of what computing could have been -- and
> already was in the late 1970s -- and what it's become my heart
> grows heavy.

I think there are a number of factors at work here.  The industry as a
whole is young, moves quickly, and each evolutionary step is often
hugely better in some dimension than what came before (speaking mainly
of hardware here; software has languished).  As a result, systems
often get swept into the dustbin of history without a careful
examination of what the old thing might have actually done better than
the new thing.

For example, the Burroughs "large system" architecture is a goldmine
of interesting ideas that have been poorly reinvented or ignored by
the modern industry.  Two major security problems we've been
struggling with now for decades (execution of data as code and array
overflows) were explicitly made impossible on the B5000.

<http://www.ajwm.net/amayer/papers/B5000.html> (although written from
an early 80's perspective)

More information about the rescue mailing list