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This Day in Computer History: October 28

written by: Pipedreamergrey•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 10/29/2008

Today marks the anniversary of the signing of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), one of the most controversial acts in technology history. Read more in "This Day in Computer History", a chronology of notable events in the computer, ecommerce, and software industries on this day in history.

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    This Day in Computer History


    Thomas Edison applied for his U.S. first patent on a design for an electric vote recorder. Edison would one day become known as the most prolific inventor in history, and before his death in 1941, he would hold 1,093 U.S. patents in total.


    The Data Processing Division of IBM announced the IBM System/3 Model 6 and IBM System/7 systems, both of which were economically priced for factory and office use.


    Texas Instruments, the world leader in calculator development and manufacturing, publicly announced plans to exit the home computer market after sustaining losses in excess of $233 million since the start of the year.


    Microsoft and Intel jointly announced plans to develop specifications for the NetPC standard of diskless computer stations.


    In the antitrust suit against Microsoft, prosecutors present statements made by American Online (AOL) officials establishing that AOL had previously planned to bundle the Netscape web browser in with their service as its default browser. The prosecution further elaborated that Microsoft's anti-competitive practices forced AOL to preempt Netscape for Micrsoft's Internet Explorer out of fear of retaliation. The day's presentation later proved to be one of the lynchpins of the case.

    Microsoft announced a ninety million dollar Internet advertising contract with Bank One's First USA unit, which Microsoft described as the “biggest cyberspace advertising agreement ever signed".

    U.S. President William Jefferson Clinton signed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) into law. Among other more wide-spread implications, the Act criminalized the process of reverse-engineering any technology that would allow users, namely hackers, to circumvent a system's copyright protections. This aspect of the act proved to be highly controversial as, with no exceptions spelled out in the language of the legislation, it effectively nullifies fair-use doctrine in many future systems. It also limited the liability of internet service providers in copyright infringement cases.

    U.S. Vice President, Al Gore, inaugurates the Pacific Blue supercomputer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California. With the ability to make 3.9 trillion calculations per second, Blue was the fastest computer in history. The computer was developed for the Department of Energy by IBM under a $96 million contract. It contained twenty-five trillion transistors, nearly six thousand processors, and over five miles of wiring.


    Mobile device manufacturer Palm affirms its decision to merge with its rival, Handspring, to form PalmOne Worldwide. Under the plan, the company's software development division, PalmSource, would be spun-off into a a separate corporation in order to continue to develop the Palm operating system.


    Sun Microsystems released the OpenSolaris Desktop 01 operating system based on GNOME 2.10 for Linux and Solaris systems.