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Anecdotes: Computer User Groups [1960]

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129637D
Original Publication Date: 1990-Dec-31
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06
Document File: 8 page(s) / 38K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Herbert S. Bright: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

This paper is a discussion of the purposes, history, operating policies, publication languages and mechanisms, and future role of computer user groups. While most of the information presented here has to do with machine-oriented groups, several other types of user groups are discussed briefly.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1990 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

Anecdotes: Computer User Groups [1960]

Herbert S. Bright

Herbert S. Bright

Introduction

This paper is a discussion of the purposes, history, operating policies, publication languages and mechanisms, and future role of computer user groups. While most of the information presented here has to do with machine-oriented groups, several other types of user groups are discussed briefly.

Purpose and Functions of Computer User Groups

Machine-Oriented Groups

The original purpose for which computer users formed the beginnings of the user group movement was to expedite cooperation on joint-interest coding projects. Not only coding efforts, but experience and ideas were shared among a number of organizations which, although several of them were direct competitors in business, were able to work together for the common gain.

As soon as certain common programming tools were available, including assembly routines, some basic utility routines, and a few working standards such that coding written by one user could be used by another, distribution of routines and subroutines became a major activity of the early user groups. During the past five years, for example, SHARE has distributed about two thousand programs. Most of these were distributed in machine-readable form, as Hollerith cards punched in business-machine card code, in each case according to one of several assembler- or compiler-input format standards; many were also made available in direct machine language form, mostly as cards punched in binary form or as magnetic tape. [Relatively little distribution has been made of assembler- or compiler-input-language programs in the form of magnetic tape.] Written program descriptions and abstracts of them, program listings, and other human- readable material have been published in large volume.

Incidental to the cooperative coding and program distribution activities, there was a considerable amount of sharing of personnel training information. Also, liaison was established between user group committees and the manufacturers' technical personnel in connection with both hardware (equipment) and software (program support) weaknesses found and improvements desired. This liaison was particularly effective, since through it the manufacturers were able to obtain responsible technical opinion which represented in general a consensus among the most expert personnel of essentially all users of a particular type of machine.

IEEE Computer Society, Dec 31, 1990 Page 1 IEEE Annals of the History of Computing Volume 12 Number 1, Pages 56-61

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Anecdotes: Computer User Groups [1960]

While some of the younger groups are still in the earlier stages outlined above, much of the present user group activity is devoted to standardization (and to overcoming the difficulties encountered becaus...