Brief History Of Linux (#10)
The AnyQuack Computer
One electronic machine, Colossus, was used by the British in World War II
to decode Nazi transmissions. The code-breakers were quite successful in
their mission, except for the tiny detail that nobody knew how to read
German. They had decoded unreadable messages into... unreadable messages.
Two years later in 1945, a group of professors and students at the Univ.
of Pennsylvania were discussing computing theory. An argument ensued, in
which one professor yelled, "Any quack can build an electronic computer!
The real challenge is building one that doesn't crash every five minutes."
One graduate student, J. Presper Eckert, Jr., responded, "I'm any quack!
I'll take you up on that challenge. I'll build a device that can calculate
1,000 digits of pi in one hour... without crashing!" Several professors
laughed; "Such high-speed calculations are beyond our level of technology."
Eckert and his friends did build such a device. As a joke, he called the
machine "AnyQuack", which eventually became ENIAC -- ENIAC's Not Intended
As Crashware, the first known example of a self-referential acronym.