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Microsoft Education

Gates Donates $15M to Preserve Computing History 291

Dan-DAFC writes "The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is donating the sum of $15 million to the Computer History Museum in California, according to the BBC. The money is the biggest single gift in the museum's $125 million fund-raising campaign, which is still $50 million short of its target. The funds raised will be used to add more exhibits and educational programs."
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Gates Donates $15M to Preserve Computing History

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @02:09AM (#13814808)
    I took a tour of the museum shortly after this announcement. Bill Gates only asked for a few changes to made following his generous donation.

    Middle Age Clockwork Computer: Invented by Bill Gates
    Punch Card Programmable Computer: Invented by Bill Gates
    Analog Computer: Invented by Bill Gates
    Digital Electronics: Invented by Bill Gates
    Atanasoff Berry Computer: Invented by Bill Gates
    Z3 Universal Computer: Invented by Bill Gates
    ENIAC: Invented by Bill Gates
    EDSAC: Invented by Bill Gates
    Integrated Circuit: Invented by Bill Gates
    Personal Computer: Invented by Bill Gates
    Internet: Invented via a joint effort from Bill Gates and Al Gore
  • In other words... (Score:5, Informative)

    by nmb3000 ( 741169 ) <> on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @02:11AM (#13814816) Journal
    The change jar on Bill's dresser was getting full :)

    Don't take that the wrong way. Whatever his reasons (and I believe them honest), you can't help but respect the Foundation. A quick look shows they've donated over $28B [] and over $1B each year. That's a lot of money doing a lot of good, and is probably better spent than most Government-sponsered projects.
  • by DeafByBeheading ( 881815 ) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @02:13AM (#13814821) Journal
    Maybe Jack Thompson will pitch in ten grand...
  • To preserve the history of species that went extinct because of drilling. Well, at least students will know there were other computers and operating systems before our new worm-infested overlords.
  • But... (Score:4, Funny)

    by the_skywise ( 189793 ) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @02:14AM (#13814826)
    Will it include a copy of CP/M?
  • by tyrione ( 134248 ) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @02:17AM (#13814836) Homepage
    Okay Steve, time to shell out the rest to really stick it in Bill's craw.
  • by ghoul ( 157158 ) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @02:18AM (#13814842)
    Everyone says DOS is a dinosaur and now we have a museum of history so DOS should be on display. But seriously speaking DOS did revolutionalize the personal PC segment so it has its place in history. So for that matter does the first mouse, the first GIMP , the first laser printer but then it might become a Xerox PARC archive instead of a museum of computer history.
                  Anyway wonder how a software can be displayed in a museum. Would they have old computer terminals running DOS on which people can play around or would they just have a number of big boards with writeups abbout the software. A museum of
    computer history seems to me to an unique challenge for a curator.
  • I'm glad their web site is full of tiny pictures with unreadable text. Example here []. I suppose I have to visit the museum in person and pay admission to find out what that diagram says. On the other hand, I could probably look at it elsewhere on the web, for free, and with much more information surrounding it.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Admission is free at CHM. Donations welcome, and membership encouraged, but tours are free. It's an exciting tour through the last century of computing
  • by sqeaky ( 874667 ) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @02:23AM (#13814859) Homepage
    I wonder if they are going to preserve key points and dialogues in computing history like "No one needs 640 kilobytes of ram..."
    • I wonder if they are going to preserve key points and dialogues in computing history like "No one needs 640 kilobytes of ram..."

      FYI, the quote you're thinking of is an urban legend; Gates didn't actually say it. (If anyone here believes otherwise, please cite your sources.)
      • In an interview with David Allison, 1993.

        BG: "Microsoft was playing a much broader role[laughs] than just doing software for this machine. I mean whether it is the keyboard, the character set, the graphics adapter, or even the memory layouts. I laid out memory so the bottom 640K was general purpose RAM and the upper 384 I reserved for video and ROM, and things like that. That is why they talk about the 640K limit. It is actually a limit, not of the software, in any way, shape, or form, it is the limit of
    • "I wonder if they are going to preserve key points and dialogues in computing history like "No one needs 640 kilobytes of ram..."

      You want them to preserve a fictional history?
    • And besides, MS-DOS supported 768K of RAM on other machines besides PCs (like the Victor 9000). It wasn't Microsoft or MS-DOS (or PC-DOS) that limited people to 640K RAM, it was IBM and their (project Chess) hardware design.

      (Actually, some searching on the internet says the Victor 9000 could do up to 896KB of RAM. No one I used had that much. Perhaps that much RAM cost more than the onwers of the machines I used could afford?)
    • I would prefer the following.

      "Knife the baby"
      "Cut off their air supply"
      "F**king Eric Schmidt [Google's chief executive] is a f***ing p****. I'm going to f***ing bury that guy. I have done it before, I will do it again. I'm going to f****ing kill Google."
      "Open source advocates are communists"
      "Open source is un-american"
      "Open source is a cancer"
      "If they want to sue me they can get in line"

      There are so many gems from the sleazy MS executives, somebody ought to dig them up and make a list.
    • Personally I think they should also keep the video of Steve Ballmer jumping up and down and shouting 'developers, developers, developers'. Future generations will think even more highly of Bill Gates due to having helped solving the problem of the missing link in Darwin's Evolution Theory.
  • Scobleized? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by spongman ( 182339 ) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @02:25AM (#13814865)
    I wonder if Bill was influsnced by Scoble's video [] tour [] on Channel9?

    well worth a look if you can't make it there yourself.

  • I wonder if his money will go to finding and preserving an old copy of the Apple IIe children's game, Z-bug, which was supposed to teach kids to type. That's a bit of computing history I remember, but can't find any references to even on the 'Net. I'm not making that up either, so don't mod me down. It was a piece of my childhood. It probably won't make it to the history of computing, though, because no one seems to remember it. Also reminds me of the ZamJak 72v. At least some people DO remember that
  • School Donations (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lappy512 ( 853357 ) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @02:36AM (#13814916) Homepage
    The Bill Gates foundation is pretty nice. Even though I support Linux, they have kept our school computers very nice. For example, we recieve upgrades almost every two years, and we just upgraded almost a week ago to 2.8 Celeron D's in our whole school. When our network was only 10BaseT, they helped us upgrade to 100BaseT, speeding login times. Of course, there are the disadvantages, with MSIE only, and Word, but there's always PortableFirefox and PortableOpenOffice!
    • What part of the county do you live in? I live in Colorado, and I have never ever recieved anything from the Bill foundation. In fact, I do contract work for the local school district and the majority of the PC's are less then 500 MHz/128MB RAM/10GB HDD. So when you say you just upgraded to 2.8 Celeron D's in your whole school, while I am fighting to keep ~300 500MHz machines running, you can see why I am bitter. So screw you. Either you're a liar (at worst) or you are in a preferential area (at best). Eit
      • I am fighting to keep ~300 500MHz machines running, you can see why I am bitter. So screw you. Either you're a liar (at worst) or you are in a preferential area (at best). Either way, screw you.

        Have you contacted any charities or foundations for help? Or are you just sitting there whining away doing nothing about the real problem?

    • Re:School Donations (Score:3, Interesting)

      by killjoe ( 766577 )
      The name of the foundation is Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. How come nobody says "Melinda Gates foundation"?. Bill didn't give a cent to anybody until after he got marrried, maybe it's Melinda that's the generous one. Ever think of that?

      By the way I glad you found a way to circumvent using the software Bill Gates is shoving down your throats. Teach your fellow students the same thing. It would be a shame if your school graduated a generation of children who didn't know anything that wasn't made by MS.
    • Re:School Donations (Score:3, Interesting)

      by meringuoid ( 568297 )
      The Bill Gates foundation is pretty nice. Even though I support Linux, they have kept our school computers very nice.

      The crack dealer at the front gate has the same policy. If Bill can make sure that all schools use his software, then a generation grows up that knows nothing but Office on Windows. A great way to cement a monopoly, ne? Better yet, it costs Bill nothing to stamp out some more Windows CDs for schools, but he can claim his generosity against tax at full market value!

      Isn't it great to be a s

      • I suppose that's why they give most of their money to world health, immunization, and other projects, right? Because once you get the third world up to speed in terms of things like fresh drinking water and protection from easily curable diseases, they're just a wider user base for Microsoft Office?

        Cut me a break. If the Gates Foundation were about being a "crack dealer" for MS products, they wouldn't spend most of their money on providing basic health in third world countries that neither buy not can even
        • Also, as an addendum, I don't think I made it clear that what you say simply doesn't match the facts. As far as I know (from reading the Wikipedia entry), the Gates Foundation doesn't give any Windows software as part of their donations--they give cash. So your nonsense about pressing more CDs as a tax deduction is, well, just plain wrong.

          Then again, this is Slashdot. Perhaps I was being a bit optimistic to expect otherwise.
  • I wonder if he will buy me another core memory plane so I can complete this upgrade I've been working on? Seems like he could preserve quite a bit of history of he did.. As in another 255 KB of my history at any given point!
  • Anyone notice which $15 million donor is missing from the Hall of Fellows [] awards? Too bad they already picked their 2005 winners [].

    • Re:Missing Fellow? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by wangotango ( 711037 )
      No reason for Gates to be listed in that crowd. Those selected are hard core R&D technical people. Gates isn't a technical type, he is a businessman. Steve Jobs is missing for the same reason.
  • How about re-releasing MS-DOS 6.22 and MS WfW 3.11 as open source so as to get kiddies in Africa and South-East Asia into computing. You never know, it just may stop those kids from getting hooked on Linux. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
  • He probably realised that MS Windows may pretty soon be relegated to history.
    Reserving space before its too late :)
  • This is just like really old people buying a plot in a cemetery in preparation for the inevitable...
  • by admactanium ( 670209 ) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @03:41AM (#13815073) Homepage
    i did some pro-bono advertising work for the computer history museum and our agency also had the microsoft account. so we somewhat facilitated this step. if you have a chance to visit the chm, it's really a worthwhile trip. when i met them they weren't in their current building and their "visible storage" was in an old airplane hanger. the new display is quite interesting. everyone stops at the front display for at least 20 minutes looking at all the tech they've owned over the years. they have a lot of very significant machines (including one of the enigma machines).

    they also hold a number of symposia with very significant speakers. i saw a tim berners-lee there. pretty humbling to see the man who is largely responsible for the invention of the internet. try to catch some of their lectures by people who have made history. it's really enlightening.

    • i saw a tim berners-lee there. pretty humbling to see the man who is largely responsible for the invention of the internet

      So Al Gore was with him?

    • I second that, it's an excellent place to experience computing history. Its not just old micros, there's a lot of big iron and a few past supercomputers in the museum, examples of various forms of storage, and a couple re-creations of old technology (as in getting a PDP-1 or a large IBM mainframe operational for educational and preservation purposes.

      On November 5th and 6th the CHM will host the 8th West Coast Vintage Computer Festival [] which is a conference/expo of sorts of vintage computing enthusiasts an

  • by edashofy ( 265252 ) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @04:09AM (#13815159)
    This is a seriously insane museum collection of computer history. Apparently $45K wouldn't do it, but I certainly think getting saving all these old machines for posterity would be worth it. W0QQitemZ8706273723QQcategoryZ4193QQrdZ1QQcmdZView Item []

    (And no I'm not the seller, or related to him/her in any way)
  • .. in this local museum []. Much smaller, but enthusiastic and they could use your help! Donate now.
  • by jejones ( 115979 ) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @06:07AM (#13815531) Journal
    ...perhaps people will be able to remember when one actually had significant choice in mass-market computers.
  • A contrarian play:

    For two decades, every available dollar has been put into making US upgrade to newer and more expensive now he invests millions to lock some in time? That's kinda ironic.
  • by digitaldc ( 879047 ) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @07:25AM (#13815781)
    ...and I will build you the LARGEST collection of computer junk you could ever imagine!

    I wonder if they have the W.O.P.R. (War Operation Planned Response) computer system?

    Do they also have the M-5 from Star Trek? It sounds like something right up Microsoft's alley:
    from: pisode/68766.html []

    The U.S.S. Enterprise is chosen to be the test ship for the new M-5 multitronic computer system, a computer meant to be able to run a starship without human intervention. Also aboard for the test is Dr. Richard Daystrom, the inventor of the M-5 and an obsessive and unstable individual. Initially the M-5 performs well, but when it decides to destroy a robot freighter, Kirk orders the test canceled. The M-5, however, protects itself and makes it impossible for it to be disconnected. The computer becomes increasingly erratic, a result of Dr. Daystrom's decision to impress his engram onto the computer as part of its programming. Starting a scheduled war games drill, M-5 uses the full arsenal of the U.S.S. Enterprise to attack four other Federation starships.

    In a last-ditch appeal to the M-5, Kirk makes the computer realize that it has committed the sin of murder. Since Dr. Daystrom would be ethically abhorred at such an act, the M-5 is equally penitent and tries to commit suicide by leaving the U.S.S. Enterprise defenseless against a counter-attack by the remaining other starships. At the last moment, Spock and Scott are able to finish disconnecting the M-5 unit. Kirk keeps the shields down, gambling successfully that the attacking ships would not fire on an undefended vessel. Restoring communications next, the fleet is called off.
  • Hall of fellows (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bert64 ( 520050 ) <bert AT slashdot DOT firenzee DOT com> on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @07:45AM (#13815846) Homepage
    The computer history museum website has a "Hall of fellows section" Which is described as:

    For over a decade, the Computer History Museum has been publicly recognizing individuals of outstanding merit who have contributed to the development of computing. Chosen on the basis of accomplishment--formal education is not a factor--are nominated by a panel composed of Museum staff, industry peers, and former Fellows.

    At least 10 years must have elapsed between a specific contribution and an individual's nomination in order to properly assess the historical importance of his/her achievements. The contribution must thus be of a foundational nature, one that has strongly influenced the intellectual, disciplinary, or industrial underpinnings of computing.

    Bill gates is not on this list, because he has stifled development more than contributing to it... I imagine part of the terms for this donation will be that he gets listed..

  • He found five copies of Windows which are the only known copies which never crashed during their time in service.

    These are so rare that eBay auctioneers have determined their value to be in the millions...

    All five are, however, known to be riddled with spyware...
  • by webrunner ( 108849 ) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @10:36AM (#13817084) Homepage Journal
    ... in Frozen Carbonite

Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.