Series: History of Computing
Paperback: 844 pages
Publisher: The MIT Press (January 1, 2003)
Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 2 x 8.9 inches
Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #1,559,137 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #123 in Books > Computers & Technology > Hardware & DIY > Mainframes & Minicomputers #1208 in Books > Reference > Words, Language & Grammar > Vocabulary, Slang & Word Lists > Vocabulary #8607 in Books > Computers & Technology > Computer Science
As the 1960's began, IBM found themselves with eight incompatible computer product lines, which they were each trying to support with software development. They came up with the idea of replacing all of those systems with a new line of five upward compatible computers, which would span the market. This was to stretch from the very cheapest, low power machines, all the way to the top.It was a gargantuan undertaking and it was also a "bet the company" risk. Fortune magazine called the decision "the most crucial and portentous--as well as perhaps the riskiest--business judgment of recent times."The effort to simultaneously design and manufacture five new computer systems and support them with software turned into the biggest struggle the company had ever faced. Before it was over, CEO Tom Watson would lament, "We somehow have an organization that destroys more men than it produces..."But that only indicates the candor, honesty and introspection that this book represents, for in the end, they all came through with flying colors, delivering amazing close to predictions. This was in spite of having pioneered numerous advances like microcoded CPUs, cache memory, time sharing technologies and automated hybrid integrated circuit manufacturing, along the way.This book works well as a follow-on to another by some of the same authors, the spellbinding book, "IBM's Early Computers". While "IBM's 360..." doesn't cover quite as exciting a period as the earlier work, it certainly delivers its share of amazing stories. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The authors do a great job at explaining how modern computing was born (through IBM mostly) and how System 360 was really the first complete computer line. It's fairly easy to read for the most part (i.e. it's not boring!).I found the coverage of the software side of things to be a bit light, when you consider how much of a problem it was (the hardware was on time/budget, the software wasn't!).Still a great book, very interesting, extremely well documented and well written.
Classic book about a revolutionary technology
A must read and reference book for historians of commercial computing, full of facts and detailed information not available anywhere else.
What a terrific book. I was surprised to find this book so readable given the technical nature of some of the material covered.The book is a great mix of technical detail and information about the IBM'ers involved in the creation of these systems.A must for those interested in the history of computing.
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