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ACP, One of the Oldest Open Source Apps

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the before-there-was-github dept.

Software 102

Esther Schindler writes "The Airline Control Program (ACP), introduced by IBM around 1967, predated the term 'open source' by decades. But you may be surprised by how much of its development resembles the FOSS movement today. The ITWorld.com article An Abbreviated History of ACP, One of the Oldest Open Source Applications describes what made it special."

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Doesn't seem too Open (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29145187)

considering you needed a 47k piece of hardware to run it on.

Still a cool story

Better Than Open Sores (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29145203)

Richard Stallman didn't smear his communist ideology all over this.

i hate faggots (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29145223)

and niggers and jews and christians and republicans.

Re:i hate faggots (1)

ringbarer (545020) | more than 5 years ago | (#29145751)

President Ahmadinejad, is that you?

Anonymous Coward (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29145229)

This was how it was back in the days, and that is why RMS started GNU and FSF, to keep it that way.

Re:Anonymous Coward (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29145305)

Yes, because a single piece of software determines what it was like back in the days. Nevermind that UNIX, a popular operating system from the same era was commercial.

Re:Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29145575)

Nevermind that UNIX, a popular operating system from the same era was commercial.

And so what? It was open source nonetheless. Two pieces of software.

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

Minwee (522556) | more than 5 years ago | (#29145761)

Nevermind that UNIX, a popular operating system from the same era was commercial.

And everybody had a copy of the source code for it, too. Even when AT&T said they weren't supposed to.

What was your point again?

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 5 years ago | (#29148045)

It's your point that remains unclear. Stolen proprietary source code is open source?

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

metaforest (685350) | more than 5 years ago | (#29153605)

This was still largely true until Microsoft came up and changed the game. Though, to be fair I think IBM getting it's ass kicked by the early clone makers kinda set the trend.

The first 'large' piece of commercial code I saw in source was the Apple II+ auto-start ROM. Which was printed in the back of the Apple II Reference Manual. Early IBM PC reference manuals also had source for the BIOS printed in them. This was also true of the Atari xx00 line, the Commodore line, Radio Shack line, most 80's arcade game systems(far less detail on ROMs), Sinclare's line, and a few other less popular platforms.

I seem to recall a lot of interface cards for many systems had source code for their driver ROMs printed in the back of the reference manual along with a complete 'Theory of Operation' section including the register mappings.

While none of these sources were Free(as in beer,) yet they were open source.

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 5 years ago | (#29147813)

"Nevermind that UNIX, a popular operating system from the same era was commercial."

Nevermind that though trademarks belonged to AT&T its development and real-world usage was so similar to per-license open source that you got both the BSD distribution on top of it (real open source) and a lost trial when they tried to enforce its license due to obvious open source-like usage and interbreeding.

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

JBL2 (994604) | more than 5 years ago | (#29145521)

"How it was" -- when the value of the system was concentrated in the hardware. The whole system was set up to serve the most valuable part, and software was seen as "directions to run the hardware" -- important, one supposed, but not the showy part. With commodity hardware, the value is in the bits and bytes now.

Re:Anonymous Coward (4, Interesting)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#29145825)

"How it was" -- when the value of the system was concentrated in the hardware. The whole system was set up to serve the most valuable part, and software was seen as "directions to run the hardware" -- important, one supposed, but not the showy part. With commodity hardware, the value is in the bits and bytes now.

What about most device drivers? They still seem to be closed.

(RMS was angered when a printer manufacturer wouldn't supply the source code to the printer driver, IIRC.)

Re:Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29145957)

What about most device drivers? They still seem to be closed.

Linux contains thousands of device drivers. The main culprits for closed drivers are video cards. Seeing as both ATI and Nvidia have been caught cheating their scores when they detect they're being tested by benchmarking software, we'll never see quality 3D video drivers for decent cards with open code.

Re:Anonymous Coward (5, Insightful)

MasterOfMagic (151058) | more than 5 years ago | (#29148109)

RMS was angered when a printer manufacturer wouldn't supply the source code to the printer driver, IIRC.

And what most people miss about this story is not just that the manufacturer wouldn't provide the driver. It was that they refused to provide the driver so that rms could modify it so that MIT could use the hardware in the way that they pleased after paying for it.

The device was a shiny new laser printer. rms wanted to add a feature to the driver - notifying someone when (not if) the printer jammed so that print jobs wouldn't get backed up when the printer jammed without having to have someone babysit the printer. The printer maker (I believe it was Xerox, but I could be wrong on this part) didn't want to give up the source because they were afraid that it contained trade secrets because they were the only game in town for laser printing.

The refusal of source code for drivers goes on today, mainly from wireless manufacturers (with the added point that they feel they might be liable if someone violates an FCC reg because they tweaked the driver) and the video card makers.

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 5 years ago | (#29149835)

With commodity hardware, the value is in the bits and bytes now.

What about most device drivers? They still seem to be closed.

Reread his last sentence. Most consumer hardware today is fairly basic with all the important functionality implemented in the firmware if you're lucky, or the driver if you're not. Or as is most common, the firmware is just a "bootloader" that has all it's real code (a binary blob) uploaded by the driver each time it is initialized.

That was JBL2's whole point - even device drivers have as much or more value than the hardware they were written for these days.

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 5 years ago | (#29148031)

As others have pointed out, this was driven by technological limitations of the time along with the fact that software was often bundled with hardware. In that era computers were so expensive customers often leased rather than owned as well.

Once the price of hardware came down and money could be made from software alone, the source was no longer given away. Had RMS actually worked in the real business world he would have realized that things had already changed outside of academia.

Re:Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29149871)

Had RMS actually worked in the real business world he would have realized that things had already changed outside of academia.

Stupid comment.

Had RMS ever existed if Adan do not hit on Eva?

Re:Anonymous Coward (0)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 5 years ago | (#29150443)

I have no idea what you're talking about.

It's not open source. (0, Flamebait)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 5 years ago | (#29145233)

It's not because the code was available and IBM agreed to include the fixes people made that is is open source.
To be open source, people should have been allowed to distribute their own modified version and sell it, for example, which wasn't the case.

Also, open source is unrelated to the development model, it's only about what licenses for the consumers allow.

Re:It's not open source. (4, Insightful)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#29145269)

I think you are confusing Open Source with Free Software.

Re:It's not open source. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29145367)

Open Source Definition [wikipedia.org]

Introduction

Open source doesn't just mean access to the source code.
The distribution terms of open-source software must comply with the following criteria:

1. Free Redistribution

The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing programs from several different sources. The license shall not require a royalty or other fee for such sale.

2. Source Code

The program must include source code, and must allow distribution in source code as well as compiled form. Where some form of a product is not distributed with source code, there must be a well-publicized means of obtaining the source code for no more than a reasonable reproduction cost preferably, downloading via the Internet without charge. The source code must be the preferred form in which a programmer would modify the program. Deliberately obfuscated source code is not allowed. Intermediate forms such as the output of a preprocessor or translator are not allowed.

3. Derived Works

The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software.

4. Integrity of The Author's Source Code

The license may restrict source-code from being distributed in modified form only if the license allows the distribution of "patch files" with the source code for the purpose of modifying the program at build time. The license must explicitly permit distribution of software built from modified source code. The license may require derived works to carry a different name or version number from the original software.

5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups

The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.

6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor

The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.

7. Distribution of License

The rights attached to the program must apply to all to whom the program is redistributed without the need for execution of an additional license by those parties.

8. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product

The rights attached to the program must not depend on the program's being part of a particular software distribution. If the program is extracted from that distribution and used or distributed within the terms of the program's license, all parties to whom the program is redistributed should have the same rights as those that are granted in conjunction with the original software distribution.

9. License Must Not Restrict Other Software

The license must not place restrictions on other software that is distributed along with the licensed software. For example, the license must not insist that all other programs distributed on the same medium must be open-source software.

10. License Must Be Technology-Neutral

No provision of the license may be predicated on any individual technology or style of interface.

- Open Source Initiative, http://opensource.org/docs/osd [opensource.org]

Definition 1, Definition 2, etc. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29145585)

Yes, and the definition of specialty coffee includes the use of freshly-roasted beans (defined here on the interweb) [netfirms.com] . That's a perfectly reasonable definition, but certainly doesn't apply to most of the coffee I've seen at counters that claimed to be selling "specialty coffee."

Just because you know one reasonable definition for a term doesn't mean that all other definitions are wrong. Open Source, meaning that the source is open for people to read, is very usefully suggested for things like voting machines. In this case, the manufacturers should be required to open their source to the public so independent (or even hostile) outsiders can validate their code, but there is no reason to require them to allow the code to be modified and used by one of their competitors.

Re:Definition 1, Definition 2, etc. (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#29145843)

"speciality coffee" isn't a specifically crafted term of art invented by a particular organization.

"Open Source" is.

Re:It's not open source. (4, Insightful)

koiransuklaa (1502579) | more than 5 years ago | (#29145725)

What the hell is wrong with moderators today? This is not insightful or informative... loufoque make a perfectly valid point. ACP may resemble open source, but it is not open source.

Claiming that the definition of open source does not include redistribution rights is revisionist, if not totally absurd.

Re:It's not open source. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29149145)

What are you talking about? We've always been at war with Oceania.

Re:It's not open source. (1)

sidnelson13 (1309391) | more than 5 years ago | (#29146089)

Damn it, I lost the game thanks to your signature.

Anyway, people tend to confuse and correlate the words "Open Source" with specific licenses (GPL, FSF) and organizations (FOSS, GNU).

The article clearly states, Open Source, assuming we use the definition, "of or relating to or being computer software for which the source code is freely available", and, in the referred case, change it, if you RTFA. We shouldn't try to fit the referred software in one or more of today's definitions of Open Source, because it pretty muchs predates all of this. The article just mentions that the way the development of such software worked reminds and may have influenced the Licenses, Organizations, and movement we know today.

Re:It's not open source. (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#29146655)

Anyway, people tend to confuse and correlate the words "Open Source" with specific licenses (GPL, FSF)

The FSF is not a license, it is the organization ("the Free Software Foundation") that produces the GPL, among other things.

and organizations (FOSS, GNU).

FOSS is not an organization. Its an abbreviation for "Free and Open Source Software" a combination of "Free Software" and "Open Source", two terms for essentially the same thing that are each individually problematic but are less ambiguous when combined in that way -- "Free Software" (note caps) is confusing because it can be confused with "free software", e.g., software that has no financial cost to acquire but may be burdened by restrictive licenses, and "Open Source" (again, note caps) because it may be confused with software whose source is merely available, without liberal usage rights, i.e., "open source". Often, a third term for the same concept ("Libre") is incorporated to produce FLOSS.

The article clearly states, Open Source, assuming we use the definition, "of or relating to or being computer software for which the source code is freely available"

Which, while it might be reasonable to describe as "open source" (though misleading, which is why that phrase has rarely been used that way except by makers of non-FLOSS products trying to cash in on the appeal of Open Source without actually providing it), is not and never has been a definition of "Open Source".

We shouldn't try to fit the referred software in one or more of today's definitions of Open Source

The things your calling "today's definitions" are the original definitions. Software with source code available, but not under the kind of licenses now called Open Source, wasn't called "Open Source", or even "open source", until after the modern Open Source movement created the term.

Re:It's not open source. (1)

sidnelson13 (1309391) | more than 5 years ago | (#29147609)

I humbly appreciate your corrections to my incorrect acronym usages.

Which, while it might be reasonable to describe as "open source" (though misleading, which is why that phrase has rarely been used that way except by makers of non-FLOSS products trying to cash in on the appeal of Open Source without actually providing it), is not and never has been a definition of "Open Source".

It actually has. Before "Open Source" being trademarked with OSI, "open source" referred to FOSS and COSS, but due to the improper usage of the term by companies that only "partially" opened their source code, it was replaced by terms of FOSS and COSS and "Open Source" began to mean the original definitions by OSI. See FOSS [wikipedia.org] .

Maybe the author should have used the term FOSS instead of "open source", but the one who misled the definition used by him was I, who used in the same way as "Open Source" in my first post. Still, I agree with the author that the way the referred software was developed resembled in some way the movement we see today.

Re:It's not open source. (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 5 years ago | (#29149975)

No he isn't. The difference between Open Source and Free Software is an issue of copyleft - whether your modified version of the software can only be distributed under that same license or whether you can release the software under any license you wish, including incorporating it into proprietary works.

I have seen lots of debates over what the "correct" (as opposed to official [opensource.org] ) definition of Open Source Software should be, and over what license is "best". But never in all my years have I seen anyone seriously suggest that a license that doesn't even allow you do redistribute the modifications qualifies as an Open Source license. I am shocked to see so many people claiming that today, and actually be modded up +5. WTF has happened here?

Re:It's not open source. (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#29150397)

No, it's not.

Open Source - the code is freely available for your perusal.

The source being open doesn't have anything to do with your rights (or lack of) to actually use it. Those rights are protected in the various Free Software licenses.

The Microsoft research license is an Open Source license. It is not a free software license. This is the closest thing I can think of, that I know of, to what we are looking at in the article.

Re:It's not open source. (4, Insightful)

gparent (1242548) | more than 5 years ago | (#29145317)

Open source means the code is available. Nothing else.

What you're looking for is GNU/Freedom.

Re:It's not open source. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29145377)

GNU is an operating system... (or at least, wishes it was). I know RMS wants people to stick GNU in front of GNU/Everything but come on, Freedom??

Re:It's not open source. (1)

gparent (1242548) | more than 5 years ago | (#29146043)

I'm referring to the fact that the parent was talking about the FSF definition of Free Software, not that RMS invented "Freedom".

Re:It's not open source. (1, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 5 years ago | (#29145401)

http://opensource.org/docs/osd [opensource.org]

There's quite a few more requirements than just having the code be available.

Re:It's not open source. (4, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#29145485)

So says OSI, but they haven't actually managed to establish legal control over the term 'open source', so at best, the definition is contested, at worst, there are multiple meanings.

Re:It's not open source. (2, Insightful)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 5 years ago | (#29145509)

http://opensource.org/docs/osd [opensource.org]

There's quite a few more requirements than just having the code be available.

Yes, and those requirements go beyond open source; it's more a definition of free software than open source. While many peopel view open source and free as one and the same I think it's worthwhile to differentiate between the two.

BSD, for example, is an open source project with a license that differs from the above in allowing for proprietary use as well.

Re:It's not open source. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29145643)

Huh? The current BSD license fits those terms just fine... What's your point?

Re:It's not open source. (2, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 5 years ago | (#29145753)

Non-advertise clause BSD meets those terms perfectly - http://opensource.org/licenses/bsd-license.php [opensource.org] . You can allow *more* things, you just can't allow *less*.

Those people did essentially come up with the term "open source", using their definition seems reasonable. Of course they couldn't trade mark it since it's a descriptive term.

"Free software" clearly means "software without cost" but using that definition in a discussion about "open source" and "free software" licenses is retarded.

Re:It's not open source. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29145859)

AHEM: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_software [wikipedia.org]

Quote from the article: "Not to be confused with freeware."

Re:It's not open source. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29145967)

Quoting wikipedia is no different from quoting slashdot comments. It was just written by some guy.

Re:It's not open source. (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 5 years ago | (#29146219)

"Free software" clearly means "software without cost"

Clearly? It's not clear at all. Please refer to GNU's definiton of free [gnu.org] . From what I've observed, all the big name "FOSS" licences treat open source as having access to the code and free as having freedom to do what you wish with that source. I don't think any of them require being without cost.

Re:It's not open source. (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 5 years ago | (#29147397)

Are you intentionally stupid?

But thanks for repeating my point.

Re:It's not open source. (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 5 years ago | (#29147931)

Are you intentionally stupid?

I am not being stupid. You took the stance that "free software" should only ever mean without cost without citing evidence and decreed that talking about freedom instead is inherently retarded. Such an argument is asinine.

But thanks for repeating my point.

I did not claim that GNU's definition was retarded. Your "point" presupposed that free means without cost. I disagree (as do many), and not just in software licenses. For example, one definition of free [askoxford.com] has as it's primary focus the concept of freedom. Removing the requirement of payment is only a subcategory of being free.

Re:It's not open source. (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 5 years ago | (#29148927)

I didn't take that stand, why not read what I was replying to and see if you can work it out.

Heck just read my post again and see if you can work out what I was calling retarded. Hint, it wasn't the GNU's definition.

Of course this is much more an indication of my poor writing skills than your intelligence, but that makes for a less fun reply.

Re:It's not open source. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29145477)

Has slashdot really got to the point where falsehoods like "Open source means the code is available. Nothing else." are modded insightful?

We fought wars over nonsense like that, kid.

CAPTCHA: jackpot. As in, what Microsoft's "Shared Source" provocateurs have hit with people like you.

Re:It's not open source. (1)

gparent (1242548) | more than 5 years ago | (#29146081)

I'm not a kid, kid. I know what's the difference. The Open Source definition was irrelevant back then, if you read the summary, you'll notice that the date there predates the day of the OSD and the various different rules it has - The source being available pretty much meant it was open source back then.

Re:It's not open source. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29146309)

Nice backpedal. (And neither am I, it was humour).

To draw in another reply you've given on the subject, there is no "1967's definition" of "open source"; the term is really quite new. "Back then" the term "open source" simply wasn't in use.

You only said that "open source" just meant the source was available, and for anything else we should look to the GNU definition, which is an incorrect interpretation of both terms.

You made no reference to "back then"; we're supposed to, what, divine this additional meaning from your comment?

Re:It's not open source. (1)

gparent (1242548) | more than 5 years ago | (#29146699)

Well if you read the summary it's obvious that open source was a bit different back then.

I make a distinction between open source, 'The' Open Source, and F/OSS. Maybe you don't, maybe I misread the summary and they don't. Oh well.

Re:It's not open source. (0, Flamebait)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 5 years ago | (#29145533)

Open source means the code is available. Nothing else.

Unfortunately, that is a very common misconception.

In practice, open-source and free software are interchangeable terms, since albeit their definition is slightly different, there is no software license that fulfills one but not the other.

Strictly speaking, however, and again contrary to popular belief, free software is *less* restrictive than open source. For example, see points 5, 6, 8, 9, 10 of the open source definition which are restrictions not made by the free software one.

The real confusion people make is associating free software with copyleft due to the GNU GPL (which is a copyleft license) being the most popular license from the free software foundation.

APSL v1.x meets that criteria. (1)

jbn-o (555068) | more than 5 years ago | (#29145969)

In practice, open-source and free software are interchangeable terms, since albeit their definition is slightly different, there is no software license that fulfills one but not the other.

The Apple Public Source License version 1 is an example of an OSI-approved license which is not a free software license [gnu.org] . In fact, the APSL 1.x licenses remain a good example of the difference between "open source" and "free software". The differences between the movements put the lie to the use of the term "FOSS" when that term is used to smooth over these differences as if they didn't matter (like the /. headline does on this story). As the FSF said when APSL 1.x was current:

Overall, I think that Apple's action is an example of the effects of the year-old "open source" movement [gnu.org] : of its plan to appeal to business with the purely materialistic goal of faster development, while putting aside the deeper issues of freedom, community, cooperation, and what kind of society we want to live in.

Apple has grasped perfectly the concept with which "open source" is promoted, which is "show users the source and they will help you fix bugs". What Apple has not grasped--or has dismissed--is the spirit of free software, which is that we form a community to cooperate on the commons of software.

APSL v2.0 is a free software license with two major practical problems [gnu.org] ; so it's not recommended to release new software under APSLv2.0. There are other licenses that are OSI-approved and non-free. Such licenses exist even if there aren't many of them.

Re:APSL v1.x meets that criteria. (1)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 5 years ago | (#29147723)

he Apple Public Source License version 1 is an example of an OSI-approved license which is not a free software license

Then let me rectify: there is no software license in real use today that fulfills one but not the other.

What scares me most, however, is that my messages were modded down flamebait and pure misinformation or bullshit spread by gparent was modded up insightful.
It appears slashdotters really have a problem with open-source and free software. But then, you can't expect them to actually read the definitions of those things.

Re:It's not open source. (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 5 years ago | (#29145991)

Apple Public Source License version 1 is "open source" but is not "free software".

Re:It's not open source. (1)

gparent (1242548) | more than 5 years ago | (#29146095)

It was 1967's definition of open source. You're confusing open source with 'the' Open Source.

Re:It's not open source. (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 5 years ago | (#29148241)

It's confusing because the term "open source" probably wasn't used in 1967. If you had the source code it probably meant you had to compile it to run, if not, you didn't. It's not as if you could take the code home and run it on your own mainframe.

Re:It's not open source. (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#29146679)

Open source means the code is available.

Well, a number of companies tried to redefine it to mean that once "open source" became popular.

But, no, it doesn't.

5K bag (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29145277)

"the ACP programmers I knew spent entirely too much time trying to shove 5K of functionality into a 5K bag. "

I can do that in my sleep!

Re:5K bag (1)

Esther Schindler (16185) | more than 5 years ago | (#29146343)

I hate when I do that... sigh. ::clicking on EDIT::

OS not DOS (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29145301)

It was not IBM's DOS that inspired _The Mythical Man Month_. It was IBM's OS.

They cobbled together DOS because OS was so late.

OS is now z/OS.

DOS is now z/VSE.

Re:OS not DOS (4, Informative)

Spiked_Three (626260) | more than 5 years ago | (#29145779)

Agreed - DOS had nothing to do with it.

But dont forget VM, the first virtualization OS that I know of - and I dont know much about non-ibm computers of that time - but it came out of the necessity of the people who started running DOS while waiting for OS to get finished, and then couldnt afford 2 computers to run simultaneously while they migrated from DOS to OS. and of course, it is now z/VM - and more often used as part of the hardware microcode providing hardware partitioning.

All early IBM OSs had the source freely available, DOS, OS and VM. I do not think the license restricted redistribution either, since it was available freely from the vendor. The OSs did not become 'licensed' until IBM got tired of supplying the OS for competing hardware - Amdal - and in my mind you can blame the entire software licensing mess of today on a hardware vendor too lazy to write (significant portions of) its own software, and mostly interested in hardware only profits (wow, sounds vaguely familiar even today).

Anyhow, I was one of those geeky systems programmer guys, making operating system level changes to source code - I never saw it as open source movement though, just something we did to make the OS better fit our needs. 90% of what we needed could be done with vendor supplied 'hooks' that we shimmed in our 'exits' at. I wish more of that kind of thing still existed in all OSs.

Re:OS not DOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29146377)

Neither DOS nor OS was the foundation on which ACP was built. The original system Pan American Airways PANAMAC, upon which the more generic PARS, Passenger Airlines Reservation System was built. PANAMAC used 7080 hardware, 2 256k mainframes and 2 7750 front end processors to completely manage the 1000+ terminal international communications network. 6 ft tall hydraulic disk drives held the most of the data, though there was also some drum storage involved. PARS did move to DOS, I worked on that incarnation when I worked for Computer Usage Company which was contracted to IBM to help with the development of ther first 911 system. DOS then, did not support memory protection, which was interesting. OS was late for various reasons, one of which was the insistence that it boot and run a vanilla ibm 360 model 30. Computer Usage Company was also contracted to IBM for some of that work, and a 64k 360/model 30 was my first personal computer. As I remember, PCP booted and loaded OS once - and that was declared a victory.

Re:OS not DOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29149613)

As an ex-Amdahl employee, you forget that Amdahl was given source code and allowed to exist by IBM to appease the government anti-trust lawyers. Amdahl mainframes were twice as fast, half the price, and air cooled instead of water cooled simplifying installation by an order of magnitude. People still bought IBM to be safe - every generation has a rich, entrenched, near monopoly company that everybody hates.

Re:OS not DOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29152593)

Yes, I was an IBM engineer back then and was on a "competitive" site. Non-IBM CPUs with IBM I/O. The OS manuals the operators were using were photocopies of our manuals with the other company's logo on them.
The trouble started for us when a woman from Apple joined IBM (Ellen Hancock?) and made the famous "Object Code Only" (OCO) declaration, where IBM no longer distributed source or, indeed, any of the internals. This, of course, hampered us even more than it affected our competitors since we were denied the material on the grounds of "Security".

Re:OS not DOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29153613)

We ran OS/VS1 & DOS/VS under VM/370 back then - ahh, those were the days.
Men were men, women were women & sheep were afraid!

Re:OS not DOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29146163)

I noticed that, too. And what's with the quote "trying to shove 5K of functionality into a 5K bag"? I think it was supposed to be a "4K bag".

Must be a child of the 60's. Stoned.

Re:OS not DOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29157853)

BTW, don't confuse this DOS with IBM's PC-DOS or MS-DOS. By the time the IBM PC came out with PC-DOS, this DOS was already being called DOS/VSE to avoid confusion.

FOSS? Not sure (2, Informative)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 5 years ago | (#29145385)

Interesting article to be sure -

However, I'm not sure this really qualifies as OSS or FOSS software. You really couldn't run it on any other system and there was a very closed community of heavy-smoking computer people who were able to run or modify this.

I did find it cool that the article mentioned http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mythical_Man-Month -The Mythical Man-Month which I'm reading right now. Funny how different - yet the same - software development is some fourty years later.

Re:FOSS? Not sure (1)

mrisaacs (59875) | more than 5 years ago | (#29145617)

Actually there were IBM "clones" after the DOJ forced unbundling of OS and apps from hardware, you could get the code and run it on a number of mainframes that were specifically designed to look like IBMs.

I'm old enough to have been active in this timeframe (you don't have to get off my lawn).

Interestingly there was also a budding OSS type effort in the minicomputer world - mostly with a vendor called Datapoint. There were quite a few apps and utilities that had been developed by end-users whose source was distributed for free by the vendor (or passed along by developers). The architecture was similar to the IBM PC (look here for more details wiki article on Datapoint [wikipedia.org] ) and when the PC arrived the compiler and many apps were ported to that platform. I personally worked on a "Turnkey" system that eventually was ported to the PC using a 3'rd party compiler. I was also an author of some of those early pre-OSS apps, and I ported and distributed them as well.

Re:FOSS? Not sure (1)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 5 years ago | (#29147387)

Ahh, understand. I wasn't aware that teh other mainframes could run MVS (?) or OS/360 code.

I'm a newbie to computers as I only started with my TRS-80 in the late '70s. I didn't actually get into mainframes until the late '90s. (I still have nightmares about coding EBCDIC <> ASCII in Visual Basic.)

Re: VSBASIC too expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29156143)

Around the IBM-AT time, IBM came out with a PC-like 370 machine. The problem was the software was priced for mainframes, and no one could afford the system software or languages for a desktop at mainframe prices.

Re:FOSS? Not sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29148855)

Or forty even. Sorry but you can't be much of a computer scientist if you've never heard of (and read) Brooks' book before now.

The question everyone is dying for the answer to: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29145391)

Does it run on Linux? Is this GNU/ACP?

for a moment, i read that as "ATC" (2, Interesting)

10am-bedtime (11106) | more than 5 years ago | (#29145399)

  • which stands for Air Traffic Control,
  • which reminds me of playing that game in Emacs the early 1990s (the source was called atc.el, but that doesn't seem to be on the net anymore -- kudos to anyone who can post it here, saving it from otherwise imminent obscurity),
  • which is neither here nor there,
  • but that's what bubbled up from the dregs of memory,
  • which is what happens when you the author encounters YA TLA in TFS,
  • like ATC, LSD, ATP, MCP, MCM, etc etc etc.

mods: This post is on-topic because its author is old, too! (grumble grumble)

CP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29145403)

Did somebody say CP?!

Lawyers outed CIA agents to Gitmo detainees (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29145495)

Detainees Shown CIA Officers' Photos [washingtonpost.com]

The Justice Department recently questioned military defense attorneys at Guantanamo Bay about whether photographs of CIA personnel, including covert officers, were unlawfully provided to detainees charged with organizing the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

Treason, no?

Re:Lawyers outed CIA agents to Gitmo detainees (0, Offtopic)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 5 years ago | (#29148369)

Perhaps they were following the precedent set by the Valerie Plame case and assumed that it was OK to out covert CIA officers.

Ummm, Spacewar!? (4, Informative)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | more than 5 years ago | (#29145813)

"open source" was the norm for almost all programs in the 1960s. Spacewar was certainly as open as ATP, or more so by most definitions (no commercial claims at all), and was released in 1962. Source code for earlier games, like Nim and Wumpus, were widely available as well.

This author appears to be committing the sin of omission, conflating his IBM-centric experience with the wider world.

Maury

Re:Ummm, Spacewar!? (3, Interesting)

mrisaacs (59875) | more than 5 years ago | (#29145997)

You're right in that a lot of "public domain" software was distributed as source, but there were no repositories - you could get the original version (or the latest version from the originators) or you could get varients from other developers, but it was rare to have a mechanism in place to submit changes anywhere or pass updates to all the users (remember - no internet, few modems, source mostly passed on 7 or 9 track tape reels).

When Bulletin Board Systems came into vogue in the late '70s, this started to change. In the original article what was unique was that changes could be submitted to IBM, who'd include them in later releases or distribute them as additional code with the source. The same was true of my own ealier post. If the code did not originate with Datapoint, they would forward submitted changes back to the author, who could incorporate them in later versions or allow Datapoint to distribute more than one version (early fork?).

It was not true OSS, but it was a clear pre-cursor.

Re:Ummm, Spacewar!? (4, Insightful)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | more than 5 years ago | (#29146045)

> but it was rare to have a mechanism in place to submit changes anywhere or pass updates to
> all the users (remember - no internet, few modems, source mostly passed on 7 or 9 track tape reels).

Actually both existed. Spacewar! was distributed primarily in paper-tape form, patches were contributed with paper, scissors and tape.

No, really.

Maury

Re:Ummm, Spacewar!? (2, Informative)

mrisaacs (59875) | more than 5 years ago | (#29146311)

I did say rare - not unknown.

The universities and some companies were good about accepting changes and re-issuing,

I did get a lot of card decks and paper tape while I was in college (early '70s) and at my first couple of employers(same time frame), but a lot of it came 3rd hand or later, and there may not have even been an indication of where it originated from.

Also a lot of the software came along with a programmer (that is, when someone joined the staff they brought code.) it may not have been theirs originally, they might not know the originator - and at that time another fork would take place - you'd copy it and make your own revisions, which might or might not get incorporated back into the code from the provider. You might encounter variants of the code later at other organizations, and they would be vastly different (not necessarily better) that your own version.

Re:Ummm, Spacewar!? (1)

nadaou (535365) | more than 5 years ago | (#29148071)

huh?

# apt-get install spacewar
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree... Done
E: Couldn't find package spacewar

how has this not made it into Debian?

Re:Ummm, Spacewar!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29148709)

It has:

alex@aspireone:~$ apt-cache search spacewar
kspaceduel - SpaceWar! arcade game for KDE 4

Alex.

Re:Ummm, Spacewar!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29148177)

The parent is correct. And in particular the scientific world had huge distributions of source code in the 1950s.

At least that is what I came to learn many years later. In past jobs at universities I worked on loads of FORTRAN code that was older than myself. Available from the original authors on tape, with pages of comments on updates by grad students over the years.

This one comes to mind: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hartree%E2%80%93Fock

Ever heard of Sabre? (2, Interesting)

okvol (549849) | more than 5 years ago | (#29146033)

The IT branch spun off by American Airlines, which outsourced operations to EDS (which was bought by HP). Through a few layers of gateways, Travelocity is in the same room (albeit huge) as the TPF system. They can cluster up to seven of the fastest mainframes to run as a unit with TPF, and have set records for real-time transactions per minute. All this in Tulsa, OK.

Re:Ever heard of Sabre? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29146443)

All this in Tulsa, OK.

Definitely not 'all', Quite a lot of SABRE Airline Solutions development crew is in Cracow/Poland.

Re:Ever heard of Sabre? (1)

okvol (549849) | more than 5 years ago | (#29148633)

Developers are also near Dallas, TX. www.aa.com is hosted there. But the servers are in Tulsa.

Re:Ever heard of Sabre? (1)

Acer500 (846698) | more than 5 years ago | (#29148749)

All this in Tulsa, OK.

Definitely not 'all', Quite a lot of SABRE Airline Solutions development crew is in Cracow/Poland.

And some kind of Customer Support / Callcenter is over here, in Montevideo, Uruguay. Pretty global I guess :)

Plus, I recall there were at least 3 continents with active SABRE development (I was involved with the XPlanner project for a little while, and Jacques Morel, the maintainer, works at Sabre).

Why surprised? This is old news (2, Informative)

toby (759) | more than 5 years ago | (#29146149)

IBM had the SHARE organisation [share.org] since 1955. [daube.ch]

In other words, the open source philosophy has been part of IBM's DNA [elsevier.com] since before most of us were born.

It was only "open source" becuz...... (2, Interesting)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 5 years ago | (#29146639)

It was only "open source" because the code had to be hand-crafted and re-assembled for each particular configuration. You young kids expect softwar to be rife with XML configuration files, and virtual methods, and hooks. Back in those days the code had to fit into 4K addressable segments, so they could not AFFORD to even think of opening up a file and reading configuration info, or having a table of external procedure hooks. More likely the configuration constants were not even separate, they were convenient opcodes. For instance, if you knew a 707 at this airline always had 112 seats, you'd recall that the HCF opcode happened to be 112 decimal, so you'd compare the seat count against that opcode. All you kids with your fancy separate data! Also it was extreme luxury to have a procedure hook (or as you callem nowadys "virtual methods"). You see you could only call within the current 4K block, and any addresses you wished to pass had similar or worse restrictions. And there was darnlittle dynamc linking available in old IBM DOS, so you could not call anything that had not been linked in last week at the weekly build (which took hours).

Re:It was only "open source" becuz...... (1)

Rick.C (626083) | more than 5 years ago | (#29147361)

That's scary that you used the HALT-AND-CATCH-FIRE opcode so often that you still remember its decimal equivalent!

What's with all the ACs in this thread? (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 5 years ago | (#29147501)

No one wants to go on record? IBM got you by the YKWs?

Zawinski's Law (1)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 5 years ago | (#29147651)

1967? That is old. I am wondering if the original program fell prey to Zawinski's Law [wikipedia.org] :

Every program attempts to expand until it can read mail. Those programs which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can.

Re:Zawinski's Law (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 5 years ago | (#29148413)

You do realize that the only kind of mail that existed in 1967 was written on paper and that Zawinski was born in 1968 right?

I used this system as an application programmer (2, Interesting)

raarts (5057) | more than 5 years ago | (#29150293)

In the mid 80s I did a lot of assembly programming on ACP for KLM. We (125 programmers and me) shared a test system that boasted 128MB RAM and a 100MHz'ish CPU running ACP/TPF. The production system even had double the memory. It could do 100 transactions per second. Touroperators (KLM representatives) all over the world used reservation terminals connected by satellite lines to this mainframe. It definitely was mission critical. But I think the article exaggerates a bit, because internally the story was that the KLM would go broke if the mainframe went down for three consecutive days.

When I was there, C was being tested as an alternative for assembly language, but it was thrown out, because it was too slow, and wasted too many resources.

Mind you: my iPhone has more CPU and much more memory than this mainframe, and thus could easily run the entire worldwide reservation system for an medium sized airline!

Re:I used this system as an application programmer (1)

Esther Schindler (16185) | more than 5 years ago | (#29151737)

At Ramada Inns, it was "go broke in 24 hours." I was quoting. From memory, granted, but the real number they used in the early 80s.

ACP was used at Western Bancorp (1)

Douglas Goodall (992917) | more than 5 years ago | (#29153617)

Years ago I worked at Western Bancorp. It was the holding company that supported the data processing for 23 banks including First Interstate Bank. We used ACP as the transactional engine running on IBM 370/195 systems. It had better runtime characteristics then the usual IBM stuff. I haven't heard it mentioned for quite a while.

Re:ACP was used at Western Bancorp (1)

anon92122 (1278998) | more than 5 years ago | (#29153847)

When was there a 370/195 at WBDPC?

I was there from the beginning (when we were still working out of cubicles in IBM's LAX building) and my recollection is that for the first 3 years the biggest CPU that TIPS (Teller Item Processing System) ran on was an 370/147 with 4MB of memory (the 370/147 did about 1.5 MIP on a good day and was slightly faster and cheaper than the 370/145 we traded up from when we moved into the new data center).

Re:ACP was used at Western Bancorp (1)

Douglas Goodall (992917) | more than 5 years ago | (#29154059)

I worked at the data center on Rosecrans and we had two 370/195's. One was the on-line system, and the other was for development. The programmers used VM/CMS and we used IBM 3600 Finance Industry terminals and teller machines.
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