What the Dormouse Said

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What the Dormouse Said
Author John Markoff
Language English
Publisher Penguin
Publication date
2005
Media type Print (book)
Pages 310
ISBN 0-670-03382-0
OCLC 57068812
004.16 22
LC Class QA76.17 .M37 2005

What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry, is a 2005 non-fiction book by John Markoff. The book details the history of the personal computer, closely tying the ideologies of the collaboration-driven, World War II-era defense research community to the embryonic cooperatives and psychedelics use of the American counterculture of the 1960s.

The book follows the history chronologically, beginning with Vannevar Bush’s 1945 article "As We May Think", where he describes his inspirational memex machine. Markoff describes many of the people and organizations who helped develop the ideology and technology of the computer as we know it today, including Doug Engelbart, Xerox PARC, Apple Computer and Microsoft Windows. Markoff argues for a direct connection between the counterculture of the late 1950s and 1960s (using examples such as Kepler's Books in Menlo Park California) and the development of the computer industry.

The book also discusses the early split between the idea of commercial and free-supply computing.

The main part of the title, "What the Dormouse Said," is a reference to a line at the end of the Jefferson Airplane song "White Rabbit", "Remember, what the dormouse said: feed your head.", which is itself a reference to Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

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