Software archaeology!

The Spanish philosopher George Santayana once famously said that:

Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it [...]

Is this our case in the software engineering field? Well it seems to be the path we have created for ourselves... to repeat history with the glories and many mistakes and failures of the past.

This nihilistic realization is apparent since we have no recent and up to date account of the important software that have helped us create the information age we now live in...

Do you think any of the big companies or individual engineers have descriptions, architectures, requirements, or code for the important software that have marked our industry? Ask IBM's Lotus division if they have the sources for the various 123 releases... same for Microsoft and Windows, Word, or even Linus with Linux and Marc Andreessen with Mosaic, to list a few. I have not asked them these questions directly, but I doubt the answers would be 'yes, find all info here'.

So what do we do about this sad state of affair?

Well some amongst us are thinking about such important issues. And it's none other than IBM's Grady Booch. The man needs no introduction really, but what you may not know is that Grady has embarked in a very ambitious and important quest to document software architectures so that 20, 100, and 1000 years from now, our descendants will have detail accounts of this thing we call software and readily have important exemplars from our fields.

Grady talks about his ongoing quest and efforts in a new OOPSLA 2008 podcast episode and relates it with one of this year's keynote at the conference. And to show his full commitment to this important effort, Grady is also now on the board of the Computer History Museum in Montain View, CA, where there are efforts to preserve classic software for future generations.

Subscribe to the OOPSLA 2008 podcast series and listen to Grady's episode to change your outlook on software development (past and future) and help us prove improve our field's outlook...

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