Simpler times

One of the many great discoveries I found over the Easter break when clearing out yet another unexplored cupboard was this relic from the days of the school’s former Acorns network:

For those unfamiliar with the history of computers in UK education, Acorn Computers was a UK computer manufacturer who were prominent in schools in the 80s and early 90s. Although the company itself no longer exists, their legacy lives on in several subsidiaries, most notably ARM, whose RISC CPUs are used in most modern mobile phones, including the iPhone. AUN was networking protocol which ran on Acorn’s Econet network system, and the above relic was the core software used to provide network file access.

A notable feature of the packaging of this product is show to the right: this is an image of the End User Licence Agreement (EULA) for software from Acorn Computers Limited, as printed on the outside of the box. Yes, this is the ENTIRE licence. Compare that with, say, the 14-page EULA for Windows Vista, and you can see how absurdly ridiculous the legalese has gotten on modern software.

Simpler times, my friends, simpler times.

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About The Angry Technician

The Angry Technician is an experienced IT professional in the UK education sector. Normally found in various states of annoyance on his blog. All views are those of his imaginary pet dog, Howard.

6 responses to “Simpler times”

  1. joe90bass says :

    I only ever saw Acorns used as standalones, I never knew they had network capability!

    • AngryTechnician says :

      I’ve seen the photos from a previous prospectus showing that we had a whole suite of them, and I suspect some around the site too, because I’ve seen what looks like Econet cabling in at least one building on the other side of the site from where the old computer suite (now my office) used to be.

    • Mark Scholes says :

      You’ve not heard this tale then:
      I’m sure a lot of people know that Bill Gates came to Acorn in the early ’80s
      and offered DOS for the Beeb he was told that the Acorn OS was better so why
      should they be interested. When Acorn had 10000 econets up and running (more than any other network type in the world!) Bill Gates asked “what’s a
      network”. — Hermann Hauser

      “Econet was first introduced for use with the Acorn Atom and Acorn System 2/3/4 computers in 1981”

  2. simon says :

    Interesting that the license was printed on the outside of the box so that you could read it BEFORE opening the packaging rather than with more recent licenses that require you to open the packaging, and thus agree to said license, before even being able to hold it in your hands, let alone read it.

  3. Trapper says :


    I have a thing for collecting old Acorn kit.

    • AngryTechnician says :

      Sorry… it went in the skip over Easter :(

      If I find any more bits and bobs (there are still cupboards in the building marked ‘here be dragons’) I will bear you mind!

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