This Day in Computer History: September 27

Written by:  Pipedreamergrey • Edited by: Michele McDonough
Published Sep 28, 2008
• Related Guides: Search Engine | New York Times | Apple Computer

Today marks the anniversary of the announcement of GNU and the indictment of Kevin Mitnick. 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 Planar Integrated Circuit was successfully fabricated using a boron diffusion technique developed by Isy Haas and Lionel Kattner of Fairchild Semiconductor.


At Apple Computer, Jef Raskin's proposed five hundred dollar Macintosh computer is rejected after an analysis reveled that, with the company's usual four hundred percent markup, the price was infeasible even without disk drives or a printer. It was decided that the closest Apple could come in price was fifteen hundred dollars.


Angry over the commercialized state of software development in an industry founded by men who had embodied the philosophy of the hacker ethic, Richard Stallman announced the creation of the UNIX-compatible GNU operating system in several Usenet channels. His message read, “Starting this Thanksgiving I am going to write a complete UNIX-compatible software system called GNU (for Gnu’s Not UNIX) and give it away free to everyone who can use it. Contributions of time, money, programs and equipments are greatly needed.”


Now legendary Kevin Mitnick was indicted at the age of thirty-three on numerous allegations of hacking and stealing of millions of dollars worth of applications right off the networks of some of the largest telecom companies in the nation. The case was widely hyped in the media, and the statistic that the maximum sentence for the combined charges could have resulted in a two hundred year prison sentence was frequently quoted by news outlets. The case and the investigation that lead up to Mitnick's arrest will later be dramatically recounted in the book Takedown by Tsutomu Shimomura and John Markoff, who covered the incident for the New York Times. In an even later account, Jonathan Littman's The Fugitive Game, the case will be portrayed as being over-zealously prosecuted, while its famous coverage by Markoff will be painted as wildly sensationalized. In all, the hacking spree and the case to follow would leave Mitnick a household name.


Google marks this date as the birth of its popular search engine, though it is neither the date of Google’s incorporation nor of the search engine’s earliest launch.


Version 1.6.1 of the Ruby programming language was released.


The author of the once-popular Mindwire BBS client, Andre Durand, released the client, which was developed through the nineties for free on his website.


PhpMyAdmin 2.6.0 was released. The version introduced an improved character set and support for MySQL 4.1.


Computer giants Intel and Microsoft publicly backed Toshiba's unreleased high-definition DVD (HD-DVD) media format, briefly swinging analysts and market speculators' confidence from the Blu-Ray format which had been so prominently marketed by the media. The HD-DVD would be launched March 31, 2006.


Apple Computer released iTunes 7.

Netscape Browser 8.1.2 was released.

Yahoo! acquires the Jumpcut online video editing service.

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