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IBM EasyWriter: Wikis


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EasyWriter is a word processing software released when the IBM PC was announced in 1981. It was written by John Draper's Cap'n Software, which also produced a version of Forth.

Draper wrote EasyWriter, the first word processor for the Apple II series, in 1979. According to The Wall Street Journal, he hand-wrote the code while serving nights in the Alameda County Jail, then entered the code later into a computer. However, another account had him writing the code as he served his four-month sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution, Lompoc, California.

It seems this version of events was promulgated by the Wall Street Journal. In fact, Draper describes the development of EasyWriter on his own webpage as follows :

Draper was in prison, in California, at the time, but under a 'work furlough' program. This meant that whilst he had to spend every night in prison, he spent each day working a regular job, outside prison.

This job was at Receiving Studios, a small band practice studio, and whilst there he had access to a computer, where he coded EasyWriter. He did take copies of the code 'home' to prison overnight to work on it.

The implication by The Wall Street Journal that he wrote the code in prison, only to enter it into a computer after completion is clearly a misleading exaggeration.

Draper later ported EasyWriter to the IBM PC, beating Bill Gates on the bid for the IBM contract.


Byte magazine pp. 62, January 1982.

See also


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