Re: Flawed software

Subject: Re: Flawed software
From: Richard Mateosian <srm -at- C2 -dot- ORG>
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 1996 14:03:48 -0800

>I would have thought only an independent author could produce a work
>so uncompromising. It says much for Apple that the company would have
>allowed its in-house writers to publish such information, and even
>given a copy to each customer.

Back before software became a big business it was considered normal to get
into all such details. One of the things that made the "IBM 650 Principles
of Operation" so much fun to read was it they described the admittedly
simple programmer-visible machine in complete detail. Early DEC, HP, and
Varian manuals did the same.

Few computer users nowadays know or care much about the programmer-visible
architectures of Pentium, SPARC, or PowerPC. Nor are they usually much
interested in the available system calls under windows, unix, or the mac OS.
When you work with FrameMaker of Photoshop, you're many layers above the
terra firma of the hardware.

It's so squishy up there and so vastly more complex than Applesoft BASIC,
that you couldn't write a complete description of it. The next version of
the software would be out before you finished, and you'd have to start over.
...RM


Richard Mateosian http://www.c2.org/~srm/ President, Berkeley STC
Freelance Technical Writer srm -at- c2 -dot- org Review Editor, IEEE Micro


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