This Day in Computer History: September 20

Written by:  Pipedreamergrey • Edited by: Bill Fulks
Published Sep 20, 2008
• Related Guides: Apple Computer | Computer History | Operating System

Today marks the anniversary of the first execution of a FORTRAN program and the first e-mail sent from China. Read about these events and more in "This Day in Computer History", a chronology of notable events in the computer, ecommerce, and software industries on this day in history.

This Day in Computer History


The first program written in the FORTRAN programming language was run for the first time. FORTRAN stands for “FORmula TRANslator.” The language was created by John W. Backus of IBM for numeric, scientific and technical applications as an alternative to the ubiquitous Assembly Language. The language's first version was designed on and optimized for the IBM 704 mainframe computer. Specifically, FORTRAN simplifies the programming process with the ability to use algebraic expressions within its code, reportedly reducing the quantity of actual code required by a factor of twenty. And with the first major advance in programming came the first of the programmer's bad habits... the language won't be documented until October 1956.


The first e-mail message sent from China was sent on this day to a recipient in Germany.


Apple Computer and Quantum Computer Services jointly announced the AppleLink online service for Apple users. Released prior to the commercialization of the Internet, AppleLink offered many of the services only available online in years to come, including public bulletin boards, e-commerce sites, and email services. AppleLink's fifteen minutes of fame will came when the crew of the Space Shuttle Atlantis used it to send the first email from space on August 28, 1991.


Apple Computer released the System 6.0.4 operating system for the Macintosh IIci and Macintosh Portable computers.

Apple Computer released the Macintosh Portable computer. The system featured a 16 MHz Motorola 68000 processor, 1MB RAM, a 40 MB hard drive, and a 3.5-inch 1.4 MB SuperDrive floppy drive. Price: $6,500


Red Hat released version 2.0 of the Red Hat Linux operating system.


Microsoft announced that it had joined an alliance with a number of e-commerce sites to create an auction service to compete with eBay. The CEO of FairMarket, the founding firm of the alliance, described the new service as a warehouse for links to the auctions of the one hundred member sites of the alliance.

Wal-Mart revealed plans to open a chain of ten computer repair centers inside its stores leased to the Computer Doctor franchise.


In a story published on this day, the BBC reports that over thirty thousand computers are recruited into zombie “bot nets” each day, to be used to further expand their networks and distribute spam.


Opera Software released version 8.5 of the Opera web browser and announced that all future version of its browser would be freely released without ads. The new version features automatic client-side correction of websites that don’t render correctly.


Version 2.9.0 of the phpMyAdmin MySQL management tool was released.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Email to a friend