It was some time back in 1984 or so. I don't exactly recall. I attended a symposium at USC and the debate was free software. This was back when most people concerned thought of Richard Stallman in godlike tones, perhaps on the verge of the time when he began getting on people's last nerves.
I just recalled this moment when I stood up, having listened to all of the debate and questioned the sincerity of all involved. You see I did not own a computer nor was I a student in a college that had access to UNIX. So I questioned the value of free software given that only this select and elite fraternity of programmers had access to compilers and machines in the first place. Where were they going to distribute their free software and how was somebody like me going to get some? Egghead Software?
You could hear the crickets. And so I sat down wondering if anybody was nodding their head or if they all considered me to be an idiot. It was an uncomfortable moment.
Since I've gone Mac, I have gone back to recall the extent to which the Unix wars were so bitterly fought and how tenuous that fraternity was. I remember SCO and Kodak's Interactive Unix. I remember HP's visual programming environment and OSF-1. I remember when Apollo Domain was considered the most powerful operating system ever. Hell, I remember ADA.
I grew up in a very small memory model.