Classical Software Studies

James Hague writes, in a post, “Computer Science Courses that Don’t Exist, But Should,” a series of course descriptions for needed computer science courses, one struck me:

CSCI 3300: Classical Software Studies

Discuss and dissect historically significant products, including VisiCalc, AppleWorks, Robot Odyssey, Zork, and MacPaint. Emphases are on user interface and creativity fostered by hardware limitations.

That’s a really good idea. Some of these programs did some really amazing stuff in a very limited environment. You could also add to this list the system software for the Voyager spacecraft, Sixth Edition Unix, and, of course, the Story of Mel.

By forcing programmers to understand the constraints of the machine, and seeing what fit in it, we’d all be a lot better off. It would also better prepare a generation of embedded programmers.

It should also include the Atari ET Game.

Image by Remember the dot / Wikimedia.