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    The link, as formatted, seems broken.


    Should probably just be


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      Ahhh, the old double paste :(

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      This has been submitted here before, both via a link to the same post in 2016, and as a video in 2017. I’ve added “(2004)” to the post title per our policy on historical articles, but I don’t see much value to actually merging the stories given the time gap - it would just prevent new discussion from taking place.

      On a personal, non-official note, I really appreciated the commentary on the 2016 posting about how this story relates to labor practices. I gave it a bunch of thought after that thread and concluded that my emotional reaction was failing to take the consequences into account. I encourage people to go read it. :)

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        Then things got really weird.

        If you thought it was unbelievable up to that point in the story, it’s almost unfathomable after this statement. It’s truly a bizarre and amazing tale.

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          It sort of makes me sad though.

          They invested all that effort and intelligence to save a large corporate from it’s stupidity.

          It would have been kinder to all humanity if they didn’t reward such stupid.

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            If the software being completed and shipped did good for people, then “it would have been kinder if they didn’t reward such stupidity” isn’t an obvious fact.

            Do you really think Apple not shipping this particular program would have hurt them in such a way that they would have learned how to be “not stupid” (in whatever way you’re meaning those words)? And would it have overcome the educational benefit of the software they created?

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              Nah, I think you’re reading in some kind of loyalty to their ex-employer that I don’t see in this. They weren’t trying to save Apple from being stupid. They were just deeply devoted to building a thing that they loved, and saw an opportunity to hijack a distribution channel to make it available to the world at a scale not otherwise possible. The former is such a common story in software that it’s hardly worth telling on its own. The latter (and their amazing success at it) is what makes this such a great tale.

              Remember, all this is taking place in the early nineties. Open source as we know it wasn’t a thing yet. If the local corporate bureaucracy had been more effective at kicking them out, they probably could have finished the product and distributed it as shareware… but it couldn’t have had a tiny fraction of the user base that bundling with system software gave them. Personally, as one of those users, I’m grateful for their courage. Graphing Calculator beat the hell out of a TI-84, which was my other visible option as a starving student.

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                No, I didn’t read as loyalty to employer, but rather clueless employer, in the long run, benefiting hugely from efforts and intelligence they actively didn’t deserve, thus reinforcing bad behaviour.

                Remember, all this is taking place in the early nineties. Open source as we know it wasn’t a thing yet.

                According my memory, you are wrong. Very wrong.

                Hmm. Let’s see if it is just my memory…


                But my comments are not only coming from the Open Source perspective, but rather from the world is not just one man one vote.

                We get the world we vote for, and pay for, and work for.

                Often we only pause to think about what sort of world we are voting for, when the most important choice is about what sort of world we are working for.

                Edit to add: If they had climb aboard the Open Source train at the time, it would have picked up steam sooner, and had less resistance from the corporate world.

                In a kind of silly contest… Gee, I wish I was so starving as to be able to afford an Apple in those days. Those things were Expensive. All I could afford was a Taiwanese PC 286 clone. Open source was life to me in those days. ;-)

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                  I guess that’s what I get for saying “we”. If you were using GNU/Linux for personal use in the early nineties, good for you… but surely you must admit that you were ahead of the curve. Anyway, porting their half-finished PowerPC code to a hobbyist PC version of a mainframe OS, one without even a GUI (X was first ported to linux in ’92) would have made zero sense at the time. I would be very surprised if they even considered it.

                  I completely agree about how important it is to work in accordance with your values. But, I think that’s what the protagonists in this story were doing! I don’t understand what you see as “bad behaviour”. I see it as dedicated self-sacrifice and hackerly subversion deployed to finish a project despite (and amidst!) dysfunctional management. But there’s definitely a Cult of Mac aspect to it too, and maybe that’s what you object to?

                  And silly-contest move: I was using the school’s Macs, of course. Like most of their intended user base, no doubt. Never could have afforded one of those machines myself, but sure was happy to have them available!

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                    There was free software for ms-dos, and graphing programs for ms-dos in those days.

                    The early gui’s were very underwhelming in terms of functionality added for resources and effort consumed. I literally cried when I saw the first “Hello World” programs for gui’s. They were an immense leap backwards.

                    I think the engineers were great, following their passion. But I think the corporate culture was indulging in a lot of bad behaviour.

                    Unfortunately the engineers efforts rewarded the corporate stupidity, enabling the corporate culture to flourish and inflict more stupidity on the planet.

                    ie. Their efforts got schools spending money on very very closed platforms like macs instead of the more open (and more powerful and cheaper) platforms available at the time. Thus slowing the development of open platforms.