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The one true meaning of "software" (was: licensing of XMPP specifications)

Michael Poole <mdpoole@troilus.org> writes:

> After seeing this claim made quite a few times on various Debian
> lists, I was curious about the history for the claim above.  The
> earliest common attribution of "software" that I could find in a
> computer context is to John Stukey:
>   Today the "software" comprising the carefully planned interpretive
>   routines, compilers, and other aspects of automative programming
>   are at least as important to the modern electronic calculator as
>   its "hardware" of tubes, transistors, wires, tapes and the like.
>   [ from http://www.maa.org/mathland/mathtrek_7_31_00.html ]
> Note the "carefully planned _interpretive_ (etc)" and "aspects of
> automative programming" parts of Tukey's definition.

I would argue that is not evidence either for or against the use of
"software" to mean "digitally-represented information"; it clearly
addresses a system where the *only* information represented digitally
is the program, and doesn't have an answer for what happens in a
system that is capable of storing more than just the program.

This isn't a strong argument, I admit.

 \       "I went to a general store. They wouldn't let me buy anything |
  `\                                  specifically."  -- Steven Wright |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney

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