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The Soul of a New Machine

The Soul of a New Machine: Tracy Kidder Little, Brown, 1981 (paperback: Avon, 1982 ISBN 0-380-59931-7)

This book (a 1982 Pulitzer Prize winner) documents the adventure of the design of a new Data General computer, the MV-8000 Eagle. It is an amazingly well-done portrait of the hacker mindset --- although largely the hardware hacker --- done by a complete outsider. It is a bit thin in spots, but with enough technical information to be entertaining to the serious hacker while providing non-technical people a view of what day-to-day life can be like --- the fun, the excitement, the disasters. During one period, when the microcode and logic were glitching at the nanosecond level, one of the overworked engineers departed the company, leaving behind a note on his terminal as his letter of resignation: "I am going to a commune in Vermont and will deal with no unit of time shorter than a season."