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Tuesday, August 10, 2004

the floppy is here; don’t copy that floppy

the floppy is here, datamation special report on software and services, august 5, 1981

Al Alcala, president of Media Systems Technology, Inc., Santa Ana, Calif., forsees a day when a developer of an appliation program can walk into a computer store with his program on a floppy disk, say that he wants 50 copies, walk out and go about other business and come back in less than an hour to pick them up

this article, from 1981, when the question of making or buying applications was still pretty prominent. there was noise about programmer shortages and efforts to recruit talent from overseas. 1981 was also the birth year of the ibm pc (model 5150), which came with a cassette port for storing progams. apple had 23% of the pc market.

most importantly, if you weren’t in a large company as part of a “data processing department” chances are the software you used is stuff you wrote yourself, or maybe copied, by hand, out of a magazine. in this context, floppies were awesome – and they were also a major threat. there be pirates in these gentle waters…

the floppy is here, datamation special report on software and services, august 5, 1981

Alcala, who is a worrier about software piracy, emphasizes that if the day ever comes when copiers are installed in computer stores, they will copy only disks which have formats that are in the public domain. He also looks for a day when formatted disks will be displayed on counters.

The MST president said he has been contacted by “pirates.” They want to know if MST can copy this or that vendor, “thinking to make a lot of money for themselves. I tell them about our non-disclosure agreements and advise them to contact the vendors directly.

He said proprietary formats can present substantial obstacles to people contemplating unauthorized copying. He believes “there’s no way to completely eliminate software piracy. We can cut it down but we can’t stop it anymore [sic] than the recording industry can stop people from buying records and taping them for their friends.”

i leave you with that thought.

posted by roj at 6:46 pm