The Computers: The Remarkable Story of the ENIAC Programmers

Six years ago, I created a new theme for Drupal 7 to be the new default face of Drupal. I’d been experiencing some problems with sexism and hate in the Drupal community, and I wanted to take a stand when I named the theme. My goal was to replace the Garland theme, named after Judy Garland. So I chose to name it Bartik, after one of the ENIAC programmers.

Six people programmed the world’s first electronic digital computer, and they had to invent programming in order to do it. They were all women. In fact, women did all the early software programming; it was only later that men took over the industry.

I wasn’t sure which of the six women to choose, and I wasn’t sure whether I should use her maiden name — the name she’d use during the years she programmed the ENIAC — or choose her married name, the one she’d have used throughout the rest of her career. But best I could tell, the team was led by Betty Jean Jennings, known for most of her years as Jean Bartik. So Bartik it was.

There’s a new film out about the six ENIAC programmers, with lots of interviews. You can watch it here: vimeo.com/ondemand/eniac6/155075248

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