RIP: Betty Holberton

From: <(>
Date: Wed Dec 12 20:29:00 2001

In message <>, Dave McGuire writ
>On December 12, Eric J. Korpela wrote:
>> Not to disparage the Admiral, but I'm fairly sure the term "bug" referring
>> to problems with a mechanism was in general use well before electronic
>> computers existed.
> Most literature that I've seen gives Hopper that distinction...however
>John Lawson mentioned a book that seems to prove otherwise. Scans of
>that would be very cool to have.

The basis of the attribution comes from a incedent where she
was tracing a fault in the Harvard Mark I and found a moth
in the contacts of a relay. She taped the moth into her
lab notebook, and this moth is often cited as the first "bug"
in a computer. However, as has been pointed out, the term was
in use before that and I'd be surprised if she was unaware of
it. It's always appeared to me that a number of writers have
taken the event as a defining one rather than a fun geeky
annicdote where she was having a good giggle at the fact that
this bug was a real bug. And of course, a story like that gets
passed on from writer to writer and the first interpretation achieves
the status of fact.

Brian L. Stuart
Received on Wed Dec 12 2001 - 20:29:00 GMT

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