Tim McNerney wrote in with a surprising and intriguing request:

I am looking for volunteers to help reverse-engineer and document Apple II VisiCalc, recreating fully commented source code from the binaries in the process. Besides documenting this historic work for engineering students, educators, and future historians, in fact, I plan to give all this work to the Smithsonian, I’d like to get Apple II VisiCalc running in emulation. Right now this isn’t possible because of the copy protection. (BTW the PC DOS version is available on the web, and doesn’t have copy protection).

I have three versions of the Apple II software. I know one of them still boots (1983?) and have some confidence that the other two versions (1979 and 1981) work also.

I have been in contact with both Bob Frankston and Dan Bricklin (they both live practically down the street from me). Of course you ask, well then why do you need volunteers? The answer is because no one can find the sources. Bob and I plan to dig around his garage when the weather gets warmer, but there are no guarantees, and the 30th anniversary is in October 2009.

I’ve done this sort of project once before. See www.4004.com for more details.

Tim McNerney

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