The tragedy of FireWire: Collaborative tech torpedoed by corporations

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  • #25978
    ZLoth
    ZLoth
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    OK, so it isn’t computer gaming history. But it’s still danged important. From Ars Technica:

    The tragedy of FireWire: Collaborative tech torpedoed by corporations

    The rise and fall of FireWire—IEEE 1394, an interface standard boasting high-speed communications and isochronous real-time data transfer—is one of the most tragic tales in the history of computer technology. The standard was forged in the fires of collaboration. A joint effort from several competitors including Apple, IBM, and Sony, FireWire was a triumph of design for the greater good. It represented a unified standard across the whole industry, one serial bus to rule them all. Realized to the fullest, FireWire could replace SCSI and the unwieldy mess of ports and cables at the back of a desktop computer.

    Yet FireWire’s principal creator, Apple, nearly killed it before it could appear in a single device. And eventually the Cupertino company effectively did kill FireWire, just as it seemed poised to dominate the industry.

    The story of how FireWire came to market and ultimately fell out of favor serves today as a fine reminder that no technology, however promising, well-engineered, or well-liked, is immune to inter- and intra-company politics or to our reluctance to step outside our comfort zone.

    FULL ARTICLE HERE


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    #25979
    Earl
    Earl
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    In 2005, the only year I ever had the money to order a brand-new, made-to-my-specs PC, I ordered a machine with Firewire, because I had just bought a new camcorder whose docking/file transfer station also had a Firewire connection.

    A few months in, the Firewire stopped working. It was a Sony device, so the end of the cable that plugged into the docking station was proprietary to Sony, and apparently somewhere in there they’d stopped supporting that item on the warranty end of things, which is probably why I was able to get the camcorder so cheap. Both the PC and the camcorder suffered major failures within 5 years.

    That was really my only exposure to Firewire…via a bunch of devices that weren’t built to last.


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