No more heroes any more

Hackers – heroes of the computer revolution by Steven Levy

I’d been meaning to read this book for a long time. My early career revolved around the Lisp language, and lots of the early development in this space happened at the MIT AI lab in the 70s and 80s. This lab takes pride of place in the first hacker age and is covered in some detail in this book, as are the later days in which Lisp moved from software into hardware with the commercialization of the Lisp Machines from LMI and Symbolics.

The book goes into some detail about the characters involved in the early computing industry, and this social aspect is quite interesting. Before reading the book, I didn’t know the story of early games development shops such as Sierra On-Line and some of the stories of the famous Homebrew Computer Club.

I must admit though that I found the book quite slow going. A seemingly never-ending list of new characters made it quite hard to follow, and after a while all of the characters blurred into one. Despite the interesting stories that are present in the text, I had several goes at reading the book and then ended up putting it down and starting again from where I left it the previous time.

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