DataServe Twenty Years On

DataServe was a fictitious company started by Luke Howard, Tony Wirth, and Josh Reich, when they were about 11-13 years old (circa 1990-1991). We generated a lot of paperwork and very little revenue (about A$40 before the "company" was "dissolved"). Nonetheless, we learnt a lot, and it's interesting to note where various DataServe people have ended up. I'll hopefully scan in our Annual Report and some other documentation in the near future; there are about a hundred pages of minutes, pricelists, catalogues, memos, etc; indeed, many more than I've generated from running a "real" software company!

We must acknowledge the influence of the BBC comedy "Yes, Minister". Tony and myself were (and still are) devout fans of this show. Anyone who remembers Sir Humphrey's interdepartmental committees with fairly broad terms of reference will be amused to read the documents below. Tony and I were old school friends; Josh and I apparently first met when we were about 8, and took an immediate dislike to each other, or so the story goes. When we met again three or four years later, though, we took a shine to each other and were mutually impressed with each other's knowledge of computing and electronics (somewhat respectively). You can see the origin of Luke's fascination with UNIX, directory and security services; Joshua's interest in languages and electronics; and Tony's taste for good-natured pedantry. One could only imagine what would have happened had Linux and the web been around then.

Note: I've probably made some typos retyping these old documents; I've long since lost the original 5.25" disks! However, I've attempted to keep any original errors in the documents, noting each with (sic). Any DataServe people with any historical material in electronic or printed form, please get in touch with me. Without getting too sentimental, I think that this is really important, as it shows where it all started. Please remember though, that this is all historical data; DataServe, as described here, does not exist now, and the software and hardware described below cannot be obtained. We also accept no responsibility if you blow up your computer by trying to build some of the hardware!


DataServe members, most of whom are now in their early thirties (!), are now doing these things:

Business stuff

Technical Stuff


Copyright (c) 1990-1991, 2000, 2009 Luke Howard and others