When I saw the internet live broadcast of the sd&m conference in Summer 2001 in the former German Bundestag I was very impressed. It was in most cases a first opportunity for me to see the faces and listen to the voices of some great people that are famous for their contributions to software development. People like Wirth (Algol, Pascal), Hoare (correctness proofs, concurrency modelling, quicksort), Dijkstra (structured programming, semaphores) etc. A span from the invention of the stack (end of the 50ies) to software design patterns (end of the 90ies) is covered by their inventors. What is taken as given today (like the stack, B-trees, relational databases) of course once had to get invented at one point. To listen about the reasons and environment of those ideas from the mouths of their inventors is very fascinating and enlightning. I have to thank sd&m for organizing this exciting conference and making this private conference available to the general public.
Today I got the fresh printed copy of "Software Pioneers" on my desk and I am impressed again. I knew that sd&m planed to compile a DVD with the conferece broadcasts. But they topped it. They recognized the historic value of the event that happened and took the time to create a high quality book together with the renowned Springer publishing company.
The book contains the edited conference talks and reprints of their classic papers as well (like Dijkstra's "Go To Statement Considered Harmful"). Plus it comes with four DVDs which contain the videos of the talks, plus the slides, plus a software that allows the synchronized presentation of video and presentation slides and web hosted bonus material. The talks in German language come with english subtitling. All very well done. I recommend this work to every software developer who is interested in the history of his profession and wants to attach human faces and voices to the abstract concepts.