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Found: Internal Apple Computer Memos From 1979, Left at a Seattle Goodwill

A local discovered them by chance.

One of the memos found.
One of the memos found. Apple/Reddit user vadermeer

Earlier this week, Reddit user vadermeer was at the Seattle Goodwill Outlet, when “I noticed the Apple logo on letterhead sticking out from a bin of books” and started digging through the box. Inside was a trove of papers from the early days of Apple history, from 1979 and 1980, three or four years after the company was founded.

The pile of papers included “inter-office memos, meeting notes and progress reports” detailing the development of software security for the company’s new products. They belong to Jack MacDonald, who managed software for the Apple II and III.

Vadermeer uploaded the whole pile for the internet to see; they’re also now saved to the Internet Archive. Gizmodo paged through the documents and discovered some good tidbits. The team was trying to develop anti-piracy measures, essentially. The ideal level of security was “very secure,” defined as “breakable by hardware hacks with a respectable amount of effort to the point of being able to examine programs.”

But at that time, Gizmodo discovered, Apple considered secure anything that Steve Wozniak couldn’t break into.

“Randy feels that if he has a version that Woz can’t copy then it is as protected as possible,” one memo said.