Linked by Jordan Spencer Cunningham on Wed 6th Apr 2016 17:00 UTC
Original OSNews Interviews

It's been several weeks since Ray Tomlinson, best known for the invention of email, passed on. Email, however, represents only a very small portion of his work and contributions.

While writing a research paper on possible new methods to reduce and eradicate malware, I came across a bit of intriguing history whose available details did not satisfy my curiosity, and I needed to know more than what the internet had to offer. The event in question was the creation of Creeper, a piece of software created in 1971 by Bob Thomas that, according to most sources, is the world's first computer virus. There hasn't been a lot of information available on the internet regarding Creeper except that it was created to "infect" computers running the TENEX operating system on ARPAnet. It would cause the machine to print "I'M THE CREEPER. CATCH ME IF YOU CAN." Then Ray Tomlinson created Reaper whose sole purpose was to seek out and remove Creeper from the machines it had "infected".

I wanted to know more, though. Why was Creeper created in the first place? Did it cause problems? Was it an annoyance to those managing the machines it affected? Should it really be considered the first virus (technically worm, if that)? In late 2014 I ended up finding Ray Tomlinson on LinkedIn of all places and asked him if I could ask a few questions about Creeper and Reaper. He very kindly obliged.

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Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

dionicio,

Yea, I think many of us who have been in the software industry for a long time feel that it's running out of vigor. The industry is just not expanding like it used to. With consumable goods, the business model is to sell things over and over again. Software developers, while we have the same innate need to support ourselves year after year, we also face ever more saturation every year. Certainly much more so than when the industry was young and new.

Heck, back in the day one could build a software empire just by clowning around. And now they're struggling.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OonpXElRLVw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byU3PZSn-CY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeJnA8ItA6s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-8IufkbuD0

Edited 2016-04-07 02:44 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

What's the point of those Youtube links?

Reply Parent Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

No it isnt,

Mostly, I find them humorous. But it was to show change. When demand was high, awful marketing did not matter, sales soared anyways. The exact same Balmer would struggle to drive sales in later years, not because he changed, but because the industry has.

Edited 2016-04-07 07:01 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

mistersoft Member since:
2011-01-05

It might be off topic a bit.
But I think more smaller independent software providers/lone programmers should have a model more akin to a musician doing pub/club gigs than the stadium filling rockstar..

Not a great analogy but you get the drift, ie smaller more regular hand to mouth. or pay the bills kind of gigs ; rather than the one off big glory show/piece that you can retire off.

Especially in this era of corporate wares from the Google's, Apples, FB's, Microsoft's etc particularly vis a vis the privacy and information control space. But also re "bespoke" solutions as contrasted to the one-size-almost-but-doesn't-quite-fit-all approach of corporate offered tools and solutions.

Little personalized websites offering a display window alternative to FB pages (pulling data or photos from home stored personal cloud storage) is one obvious thing.

Another is offering services more akin to that of a digital plumber (offering little bespoke solutions to fill in the gaps left elsewhere). I'll try and illustrate this with an example I've been looking for but can't quite find....

They're are plenty of "notes" apps. But they're massively chunky for me and note how I want to organise or remind myself. I like speadsheets, that how I want to work. I also spend a huge chunk of my working week driving between sites. Now comes into the pictures smart watches, now I know pebble for instance offer the capability via 3rd party apps to having a verbal note taking apps that will take the voice input from their "smartphone" and via an app on the paired phone carry out voice recognition and create a text based "note". So we're nearly there, that might suffice for a lot of people in fulfilling want they want in terms of a dictation and voice to text app. For me it doesn't do the important bit, automatically putting that text info a new cell, on a new line, of an existing master spreadsheet. An Excel based one please as that's where I'm comfortable with the filters etc.

Now, I'm not a rich man, however that little bit of new functionality - which surely can't be more than a few hours work for those with the skills I'd have no hesitation paying £1000 for, it would just be so useful to me.

Am I totally wrong in guesstimating the work involved?

And if not, surely these sorts of digital plumbing jobs should be the new playground of the jobbing programmers not currently engaged in rockstar game development and so on

Edited 2016-04-07 17:40 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

The software industry stagnating? LOL. There are new languages, new paradigms, new distribution channels, new business models, etc, etc. What is happening, perhaps, is that the one running out of steam could be you. It's perfectly normal part of the process of advancing in age.

Reply Parent Score: 2

dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

As to being able to sell little red shovels all of his life.

Reply Parent Score: 2