Software Preservation (was: SIMTEL...)

From: Derek Peschel <>
Date: Fri Apr 5 16:23:50 2002

On Fri, Apr 05, 2002 at 01:25:29PM +0100, Stan Barr wrote:

> Don't know about PDP-8 programs, but a copy of a program
> to print squares, by M.V.Wilkes, May 1949 is available
> for the EDSAC emulator...could this be the oldest surviving
> computer program? (Of course, the operating sustem - or
> Initial Orders as it was known - is older.)

I thought the squares program was lost and had to be reconstructed.

Also, I'd call the Initial Orders more of an assembler/loader
than an OS, since it didn't incldue any subroutines you could use
for things like I/O. Eventually they added a library of I/O and
math subroutines, some utilities (mostly for debugging), and a
fancier version of the Initial Orders that allowed you to decide
at load time where subroutines should go. But you still had to
decide what subroutines to use and copy them to your input tape.

The tic-tac-toe (noughts and crosses) program is undoubtedly
one of the oldest computer games.

-- Derek
Received on Fri Apr 05 2002 - 16:23:50 BST

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