History of the software industry : the challenge

F.C.A. Veraart, A.A. Bogaard, van den, M. Campbell-Kelly, G. Alberts

Research output: Book/ReportReportAcademic


Martin Campbell-Kelly opened a new field in the history of computing in his groundbreaking From airline reservation to Sonic the Hedgehog; a history of the software industry. The book is discussed by Adrienne van den Bogaard and Frank Veraart and by Gerard Alberts, followed by a reply by the author. Van den Bogaard and Veraart join great appreciation for the three-sector division Campbell-Kelly developed to describe the history of the software industry, to a slight criticism of his ad hoc-argumentation in explaining why in each sector some enterprises survive and others do not. Lacking, in their view, is a discussion of the dynamics of software itself in the context of emerging practices and businesses. Alberts overcomes his prima facie unease with the "entrepreneurial briefs" of the multitude of software houses, by recognizing the true historian at work. ICT has brought about many changes, including structural changes in the economy. While Campbell-Kelly emphasizes novel aspects of the software economy, in particular the economy of increasing returns, Alberts proposes a more radical interpretation of these phenomena, asking if one call still talk of an "industry". Have we not entered the postindustrial era? In reply, Martin Campbell-Kelly takes the blame for his choices of style, while insisting on his taxonomy of the software industry, and on calling it industry. The present report results from a debate in the Colloquium History of Computing, held at the CWI, June 10-11, 2004¿.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherCentrum voor Wiskunde en Informatica
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Publication series

NameCWI report. SEN-R : software engineering
ISSN (Print)1386-369X


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