Well, it is Monday the 23rd of January, the start of a fresh new week for many but this also means it is a few days before Australia Day, which lands on a Thursday this year. This great public holiday is followed by the national “Pull a sickie day Friday” In turn giving some, a nice four day weekend. So to continue in the positive hopes for this week, we put together few facts about the software industry that you might not have known off.
Let’s start off with software “Patches”
A patch is a piece of software designed to update a computer program, to fix or improve it. This includes fixing security vulnerabilities and improving the usability or performance. Although meant to fix problems, poorly designed patches can sometimes introduce new problems. In some special cases, updates may knowingly break the functionality, for instance, by Microsoft updating to Windows 10 legacy software will no longer work.
So here is the fun fact historically, software suppliers distributed patches on paper tape or on punched cards, expecting the recipient to cut out the indicated part of the original tape (or deck), and patch in (hence the name) the replacement segment.
Later patch distributions used magnetic tape. Then, after the invention of removable disk drives, patches came from the software developer via a disk or, later, CD-ROM via mail. With the widely available Internet access, downloading patches from the developer’s website or through automated software updates became often available to the end-users. Starting with Apple’s Mac OS 9 and Microsoft’s Windows ME, PC operating systems gained the ability to get automatic software updates via the Internet.
Most of the time a patch was created to fix issues within the software, these issues are commonly known as software bugs, but why is it called a bug?
In Sep 1945, Harvard University operators removed a moth fouling the guts of a primitive computer called the Mark II Aiken Relay Calculator. They taped it to that day’s logbook with the entry: “First actual case of bug being found.”
The Mark II was an early computer used in the US Navy. When the operators were using the computer to perform calculations, it gave the wrong results. To find out what was going wrong, they opened the computer and looked inside and there they found a moth stuck inside the computer, which had caused the malfunction!
And thus started the story of bugs and debugging, which continues to fill the life of programmers with joy all over the world. Incidentally. the term debugging was also coined at the same time, which literally meant taking the bug out of computer system.