Cleanin’ out my closet

The holiday season is a time where all sort of tasks are done for which there is normally no time during the year. This time I am cleaning out my closet mama. More than 500 old files of customers and suppliers, all collected during a period of more than 15 years are sorted out. A short history of IT, but one dog year IT is comparable with 7 regular  years for other businesses. So we are looking at more than 100 years of evolution. My eyes felt to an old brochure of Addison-Wesley with books on ‘computing’. Let’s see what was at stake in 1998 in IT.

Ever heart of Lady Ada Lovelace ? Well ADA was a (is?) a programming language named to Lady Ada. The language which was very promising at that time, specially for parallel programming.  Other books on languages found: Fortran 77 for Engineering and Science, (Turbo)Pascal, Haskell, Eiffel, Lisp, Oberon and Dylan (Dynamic Language) but also: JAVA, HTML/XML, C++, and UML.

On computer architectures the Plug and P(r)lay system architecture was explained in several books. Like the Pentium processor, the PCI system architecture and even the 80486 system architecture. All focus went to the Wintel architectures. This was considered as valuable knowledge for an IT engineer.IBM was desperately in search for a revival of OS/2. The OS/2 Warp was explained in several works. But also Linux, Unix, OSF/MOTIF and Windows (WIN32) of course.  The battle for the PC operating systems was already in favor for Microsoft.An other battle was starting to be fought: networks! In 1998 a network was a synonym for NetWare. Novell dominated the market of PC networks.Novell was conquered by Microsoft. And yet another battle: the battle for the browser with Netscape as the lost party and Microsoft as the great Caesar all killing his revivals.

A very popular theme at that time was DTP (DeskTop Publishing). Books on PostScript languages, CorelDraw, PageMaker, PhotoShop, Illustrator, QuarkXpress, … All completely or partly vanished in the wave of interactive website development.

And databases of course: DB2, FileMaker Pro 3.0, Oracle (mainly a supplier of DB-engines at that time), Informix SQL, Clipper 5.0 and CA-Visual Objects, Sybase, …

A funny work was named: ‘Student’s Guide to Doing Research on the Internet’, who explains that the reader will learn how to use Internet tools including FTP, WAIS, Gopher and the World Wide Web. GOOGLE was still to be born alive in 1998. Before Google students had to learn all sorts of technologies for searching, but nothing about who to find content. You can almost see the paradigm shift from technology to content in that old brochure.

A book on USENET! Who remembers the Newsgroups on the Internet? Should there be somebody who is still using this way of communicating on the Internet?

But also many books on IT security (Database Security, Firewalls, Risks, Safeware, Computers under attack), Human/Computer Interface, Multimedia and Software Engineering (The Mythical Man-Month).

There is no revolution in IT, it’s all about evolution and survival of the fittest. Back to the closet.


About jangdevos
I'm an IT/IS professor, a late Baby Boomer, married with Ann and father of Hélène and Willem, a Stones fan and interested in almost everything. I work at the UGent (campus Kortrijk), Belgium. My research domain are: IT Governance in SMEs, IT/IS Security, IT Management, IT Project Management, IT Trends and IT/IS failures.

One Response to Cleanin’ out my closet

  1. Willem Devos says:

    Interesting theme to talk about, can’t wait what will
    bring us in the next 15years! Maybe how Apple will take over the
    role of Microsoft and revolutions the computerworld!

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