Dan Bricklin's VisiCalc
Thursday, July 15, 1999 by Dave Winer.
Sorry to be so long between DaveNets, but it's been bustling on Internet Time here, not much time to write. Even so, something came across my desk this morning that's worth pausing for.
Dan Bricklin, founder of Slate, Software Garden and Trellix, along with Bob Frankston and Dan Fylstra, started something a long time ago called VisiCalc, which turned the software world around. The first spreadsheet program, it influenced every piece of software that came after it.
Now, thanks to an act of generosity from Lotus, the owner of the program, you can download the software from Dan's website. It's only 27K, smaller than many GIFs and JPEGs.
I tried it. It still works. And I remember how to use it. (But the mouse doesn't work and it doesn't have Undo.)
Dan says: "It's amazing that it still works! It shows that Microsoft took the backward compatibility requirement seriously."
If you use Excel or 1-2-3 and are interested in how spreadsheets got started, have a look. There were a lot of firsts in VisiCalc.
I wish more software companies would permit this. I would love to be able to distribute my early Apple II, Mac and PC-DOS products. I still have copies of them here. But without permission from Symantec, which I have asked for, it would be copyright violation. It's too bad, there are a few ideas in that software that current-day designers, and perhaps even historians, should be able to look at.