"software" coinage

AAllan at AOL.COM AAllan at AOL.COM
Tue Jun 12 17:21:45 UTC 2001

Has anyone investigated the origins of "software"? Probably lots. But I have
come across two contradictory claims:

Professor who coined the term 'software' dies
 July 28, 2000 Web posted at: 1:16 PM EDT (1716 GMT)
 NEW BRUNSWICK, New Jersey (AP) -- John W. Tukey, a Princeton University
statistician credited with coining the word "software," died here Wednesday.
He was 85. . . .
  But his most widely recognized contribution is his introduction of the term
"software" to describe the programs used to run early computers. It first
appeared in a 1958 article he wrote in the journal American Mathematical
Monthly. . . .

(By Paul Niquette)
. . .
As described elsewhere, the hardware used in my high school projects with
symbolic logic was limited to relay technology programmed by patch panel. It
was a discrete-value analog computer. {Part 1} Until 1953, like most people
at that time, I had never seen a stored-program digital computer -- a von
Neumann Machine. Then, while in my junior year at UCLA, I was actually paid
to program the SWAC. {Part 1}
It was in October of that year, that I coined the word "software" more or
less as a prank. I never expected the term to be taken seriously. . . . (much

- Allan Metcalf

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