Triumph of the Nerds – A documentary about the rise of Personal Computers

Triumph of the Nerds movie cover

Triumph of the Nerds is 3 parts documentary movie on how the Personal Computer was developed. The movie features interviews with Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, Allan Paul and many other IT veterans who played key roles for the development of the Personal Computer ,

The movie is an interesting watching for people interested into Information Technology and gives some minor insights on the starred interviewed people and their life philosophy. It was interesting times back then and it seems many of the guys who could participate in the PCs were very lucky, where others who made key developments which are de-facto standards today went into history without much being remembered.

Now the trends which these man set in world’s development is not nice. Even though PC brough a lot of fun in our every lives it suddenly started taking over our privacy and made the humanity divided.
The movie is a story of a man motivated by greed arrogancy and exploitation. Even though the movie has historical value it doesn’t even mention about Free Software Richard Stallman and the free software movement.

The movie talks about the development of CP/M the predecessor of Quick and Dirty DOS (QDOS), MS-DOS Windows 1,2,3, Windows 95 etc.

It also tries to picture the events around the raise and fall of IBM and OS/2.

The most notable parts for me in the movie are the showing off of some old computer hardware and Mainframe servers as well as the quick explanation on how Mainframes irons predecessed the PC. Another interesting moment in the movie is displaying Steve Jobs demonstrating the Xerox’s Alto graphical interface. Talking about Jobs it was quite shocking for the world his sudden death just 3 days ago so (R.I.P).

The movie author Robert X. Cringery stress out in the movie the great struggle between the so called “the blue Elephant” IBM and the just emerging early Microsoft Corporation

Triumph of the Nerds slightly mentions Digital Equipment Corporation / DEC or COMPAQ as later known. DEC is company less known in todays world which had historically great impact on computer market, so its a pity the movie part mentioning DEC is so short.

What the movie misses is to aforemention About’s Digital Equipment VMS operating system known under the code name OpenVMS. OpenVMS even of today is believed by many to be the most secure Operating System ever developed.
The movie part that talks about DEC is the second part of movie it shows a nice COMPAQ portable computer.

DEC Compaq portable II Computer

One should admit COMPAQ portable Computer is a really trendy for its time, Also the way it sticks the keyboard to the screen does remind seriously the opening and closing of a modern laptop 😉

The movie includes some interesting, so called crash courses where the movie author gives some insight on elementary computing, so for those new to informatix the movie will surely be educative as well, though for a UNIX gurus this elementary computing scenes will look kinda ridiculous 😉

One serious flaw with this movie is the complete lack of interviews with Richard Stallman and the importance of Free Software for the development of modern PC and the influence of the free software culture on todays latest Macintosh and PC developments.

A related movie which probably most IT geeks already know / seen is Pirates of the Sillicon Valley
, hence large chunk of Triumph of the Nerds gives another point of view on the ideas and stories presented in Triumph of the Nerds

Triumph of the Nerds brings back some good memories of the glorious PC computer past for all of us who had been a DR-DOS/MS-DOS and Windows 3.11 / 95 users.

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4 Responses to “Triumph of the Nerds – A documentary about the rise of Personal Computers”

  1. Alex says:
    Firefox 7.0.1 Firefox 7.0.1 Windows 7 Windows 7
    Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; rv:7.0.1) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/7.0.1

    Did you know that there is a sequel called “Nerds 2.0.1”?

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    • admin says:
      Epiphany 2.30.6 Epiphany 2.30.6 Debian GNU/Linux x64 Debian GNU/Linux x64
      Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; en-us) AppleWebKit/531.2+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0 Safari/531.2+ Debian/squeeze (2.30.6-1) Epiphany/2.30.6

      Heya dear friend,

      Yes I’ve red in Wikipedia about Nerds 2.0.1, never watched this though, did you take the time to see it and if yes how was it?

      cya in person,
      best!
      Georgi

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  2. Alex says:
    Firefox 7.0.1 Firefox 7.0.1 Windows 7 Windows 7
    Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; rv:7.0.1) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/7.0.1

    It tells the story of the beginning of Internet, Netscape, Java, etc. It also helps you remember why you don’t like Micro$oft.

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  3. hp0 says:
    Firefox 3.6.3 Firefox 3.6.3 Windows 7 Windows 7
    Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.1; en-US; rv:1.9.2.3) Gecko/20100401 Firefox/3.6.3

    There is another variotion of Triumph of the Nerds called:
    Triumph of the Nerds: Riding The Bear. It is available for watching from youtube

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