In Microsoft’s Odd Couple in Vanity Fair, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen
The Altair was little more than a bare-bones box with a C.P.U.-on-a-chip inside. It had no hard drive, no floppy disk, no place to edit or store programs.
We moved into Harvard’s Aiken Computation Lab, on Oxford Street, a one-story concrete building with an under-utilized time-sharing system. The clock was ticking on us from the start. Bill had told Ed Roberts, MITS’S co-founder and C.E.O., that our BASIC was nearly complete, and Ed said he’d like to see it in a month or so, when in point of fact we didn’t even have an 8080 instruction manual.
In building our homegrown basic, we borrowed bits and pieces of our design from previous versions, a long-standing software tradition. Languages evolve; ideas blend together; in computer technology, we all stand on others’ shoulders.
Of course, this is true of all creativity and innovation. We learn, tweak, remix, compete, emulate. Yet IP law tries to stop this.
[H/t Vijay Boyapati]