Famous programs from just a generation or two ago are in danger of disappearing from human ken, forever.
Sam Williams recently interviewed Grady Booch, Ward Cunningham, and myself about software archaeology; the issues surrounding preserving and understanding existing software. Grady focused on the preservation aspects, keeping archives of worthy software in museums. Ward and I concentrated on the issues on understanding the code that you come across (not just in a historical sense; this stuff is useful when maintaining code that’s six months old). The resulting article in Salon is fairly high level, but the underlying message is an important one.