Golden-age computer manual encourages you to break DRM, rants against EULAs

David sez, "I recently found a copy of the computer manual that came with my family's first computer in 1983. Not only is it humorously written, but it also rants against EULAs and recommends circumventing software copy protection to make personal backups of programs you lawfully purchased. I can't imagine a computer manual today that would declare 'Make that copy!'"

What he said. This is awesome computer documentation from a golden and innocent era when Apple computers shipped with schematics so you could modify and improve them, when hobbyists sent code to Byte magazine to be published so other hobbyists could type it in, and when Logo turtles roamed the land, pen-downing innocent floors with geometric patterns.

The Ace 100 manual goes on to describe three categories of crooks in the computer world. The first category is "Them," the computer salespeople who overhype their products with advertising gimmicks. The second category is "You." Franklin isn't actually calling you a crook, but they say that software manufacturers will treat you like one:
They Don't Make Computer Manuals Like They Used To (Thanks, David!)


  1. Franklin was the Psystar of 1983… Apple cut their control freak teeth suing ’em for OS copyright violations. Some things never change.

    1. Precisely. This wasn’t a good example of a creative company being open — they are simply defending their own actions. Franklin literally copied the Apple ][ Roms in their Franklin Ace computers. That being said, I have fond memories of the Franklin Ace 1000 — my first computer in 1982 — it was far cheaper than an Apple ][+ and had lower case before the //e existed.

  2. Somehow, I can’t imagine computer manuals like the Beagle Bros manuals nowadays.
    Think Different? Yeah, we’ll get right on it…

  3. …One of the things I’ve always loved about living in Texas is that shrinkwrap agreements aren’t enforceable within the confines of the state. The Texas AG’s ruled on this back in the mid-1980’s, and it hasn’t changed since.

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