Computers are Brilliant Machines
Although computers are brilliant machines that are capable of executing a wide variety of tasks, they would not be much use without software. In our world today, we use hundreds of different types of software that allow users to accomplish tasks, do number calculations, write this paper, etc. When Bill Gates and Paul Allen were attending college, the Altair 8800 had hit the market and grew interest as people saw use for the microcomputer. With the introduction of the Altair 8800 as well as the uprising interest in owning a personal computer, Gates and Allen decided to create a software that allowed hobbyists to create programs of their own on their personal computer. Later, Monte Davidoff had joined and become a third member of the “team” Gates and Allen were creating. Davidoff joined the team because of his mastery in writing the floating-point algorithms that were needed to successful run their software program. After Davidoff had joined, the three were successful by creating a software program that can run on a personal computer.
After their success in the software program, Gates and Allen had decided to explore the software business and together built one of the biggest software companies in the world today. From there on, Microsoft (originally named MicroSoft) was born and its programs are used in millions of personal computers around the world. The master-mind behind the Altair 8800, Ed Roberts, had decided to take his personal computer on a tour around the united states in hopes of kick starting the crave for the machine. Gates decided to join Roberts on this country-wide tour to help him spark interest as well as promote his own Microsoft. During the tour, Gates’ beloved program, which contained his Beginner’s All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code (BASIC) program was borrowed. During the borrowing of this program, copies were made and were shared for free to anyone with a personal computer. Although Gates was angered by this, it actually helped his software company because of how much awareness it received. However, other companies that wanted to use this program actually had to pay for access. A smart man once said, “There is no such thing as bad publicity,” and that phrase could easily be proven in our case with Gates and Microsoft.
The Homebrew Computer Club was one of the first computer hobbyist groups, centered in Menlo Park, California. The club had meetings which were held in the co-founder of the club Gordon French’s Garage. This was the club where Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs had initially met. Steve Jobs was actually located not too far away from the location of the club when he first started attending. Wozniak was a hardware engineer who sought interest in Jobs and soon became partners with him. In their partnership, Wozniak was the hardware engineer who was capable of drafting innovative machines while Jobs was in charge of marketing these marvels and turning them into tech that everyday people can buy. During the meetings in the club, Wozniak sought further interest in the microprocessor and realized he could utilize it by implementing a keyboard and screen. In 1976, the team created the Apple I, a desktop computer which as followed soon by the Apple II and word processing software’s like Apple Writer and Easy Writer.
One of the biggest names in the creation of personal computers was Bill Lowe, a product test engineer at IBM or International Business Machines. During his career at IBM, Lowe was responsible for creating a personal computer. During this stint, Lowe reached out to Bill Gates who indeed helped the team with the software included in the operating system. This software was purchased from Bill Gate’s and Paul Allen’s company, Microsoft. IBM’s first personal computer had hit the market in 1981 as the IBM Model 5150, using Microsoft’s operating system. This introduced Microsoft’s program to IBM, one of the world’s biggest computer companies and made Microsoft the dominant software company in the industry for decades. Another big name that worked for Apple, Jeff Raskin had also designed a personal computer called the Macintosh or Mac. The Mac had a graphical user interface which gave the apple computer user an upper hand over the IBM computers with the Microsoft software. This influenced Microsoft to begin working on their first version of Windows OS, which had the ability to also utilize graphical user interface and implemented this in the IBM computers. Due to better business practice, Microsoft became the dominant leader in the business of software.
Although Microsoft and Apple were the leaders in the software industry, many believed that their programs and software should be open-source and shared to the public. Open-sourcing the program would allow anybody to gain access to the software original source doe, which can be modified and redistributed. This practice is not typical as the companies who create these codes believe they should be compensated for others using their creation. Richard Stallman was an individual that believe the programs should be open-source. The free software movement was a movement to fight non open-source software and had some weight behind them since many hackers came in collaboration with this idea. Stallman had a vision of an operating system that was free to use and compatible with UNIX. This came to be known as GNU which is a UNIX like operating system. Linus Torvalds was the supplier of a missing link that was needed for the GNU program, which was also the central module. This eventually was known to be LINUX.
I had my aha moment while reading this chapter when the book began speaking of the rivalry between the Windows and Macintosh operating systems and how they started. As a user of both Windows and Macintosh (MacBook Pro), I am very familiar with both interfaces and see advantages in both. It has always interested me how the two biggest faces of software had come to this rivalry and the book explains why. The book explains the story step-by-step making it more grasping to the reader. In the book, Steve Jobs had met Steve Wozniak in a startup computer hobbyist club that met regularly in a garage and from that created one of the biggest technologic companies in the world. Although I watched the movie Jobs, by Open-Road Films, the book explained a few different sides to the story that the movie had missed. As the story developed, it described the steps on how Macintosh and Apple came to become one of the most successful companies around today. This was very interesting to me as I am an amateur computer hobbyist myself. Another interesting point was to read about the rise of LINUX, another popular operating system. If Richard Stallman never envisioned an operating system that was free to use to anybody, LINUX would have never existed. I also think it is pretty awesome that I can write this essay using the operating system that was created by Bill Gates and evolved into what it is today.