Summary of From Airline Reservations to Sonic the Hedgehog

A History of the Software Industry

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From Airline Reservations to Sonic the Hedgehog book summary
The history of the software industry is an experimental, entrepreneurial adventure, with a colorful cast of characters.


7 Overall

6 Applicability

8 Innovation

8 Style


From Airline Reservations to Sonic the Hedgehog may sound like a mystifying title, but this book provides a reasonable overview of the history of the software industry. At times, given the ups and downs in the industry, it can’t avoid sounding like a catalog of defunct firms and obsolete software. However, this chronology is quite useful for anyone who wants to come up to speed very quickly and very generally on the main trends in the industry. Author Martin Campbell-Kelly covers some of the industry’s seminal events and the main categories of software. Vexingly or refreshingly, he takes pains to say as little about Microsoft as possible, making it clear that others have written enough on that subject. So, with that absence duly noted, recommends this book to those who want an inside history of the software industry, from massive mainframes to little blue cartoon porcupines.

In this summary, you will learn

  • A chronology of the origins and development of the software industry
  • How experimentation, entrepreneurship and government involvement built the software industry


Office Robots
In January 1952, a Fortune magazine article entitled "Office Robots" discussed the growing acceptance of computers by business and government. It didn’t mention software. It didn’t use the word "programming," but it referred vaguely to "flipping a...
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About the Author

Historian Martin Campbell-Kelly of University of Warwick is also the author of Computer: A History of the Information Machine, The History of Mathematical Tables: From Sumer to Spreadsheets and An Introduction to Macros. He edited Passages from the Life of a Philosopher and The Works of Charles Babbage.

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