From Punched Cards to Flat Screens: A Technical Autobiography

Hazel, Philip
Date finished: 2011-01-05

Hazel is the author of the Exim mail transfer agent and the PCRE regular expression library. (The Python 1.5 re module was built atop of PCRE, and I was responsible for maintaining it until Python 2.0 introduced a new module.) This book is an account of his computing career at Cambridge, written after he retired. His career began with carrying out research using a Titan computer in 1967, continued with system programming for an IBM 370 that arrived in 1972 (the year I was born!), the introduction of networking across campus and later to the Internet, and the transition to microcomputers and Unix, which was the birthplace of Exim and PCRE. He also discusses his personal projects for text editing and musical typesetting. It's a really interesting account of a career that began on room-filling machines and ended with laptops.

(And it's made me decide to write a technical autobiography like this, to record my memories of past jobs and of the bitter struggles and deft tricks that were hidden from view, buried inside the software. I should start writing it now, because I'll have forgotten a lot in 30 years.)

Tagged: autobiography, computing


%T From Punched Cards to Flat Screens
%S A Technical Autobiography
%A Hazel, Philip
%K computing, autobiography
%D 2009
%@ 2011-01-05

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