Friday, September 05, 2008

First ever Printed book had Chinese hardware and Indian software and Open Source Licence!

I was reading a book by Amartya Sen (Noble prize winner in Economics 1998) and found an interesting little fact I wasn't aware of, so I thought I must post it here. Let me quote from the book here.

"The first printed book in the world with a date (corresponding to 868 CE), which was a Chinese translation of a Sanskrit treatise, the so called 'Diamond Sutra', (Kumarajiva had translated it in 402 CE), carried the remarkable motivational explanation: 'for universal free distribution'".

And from the footnote.

"Kumarajiva was a half-Indian half-Kucian scholar who studied in India but had a leading position in the Institute of Foriegn Languages and literature in Xian, from 402 CE".

So here we have the first printed book in the world and the machinery it was printed on (the hardware) being Chinese, and the contents (software) attributable to original author and the translator of the book both being Indian.

1 comment:

  1. I am not surprised the "hardware" and "software" being from China and India. After all they were probably the world biggest economies at the time.
    But the "free distribution" note is just extremely cool stuff.
    Thanks for sharing!