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Software quality is no better today than it was decades ago. In some cases, it's worse. A look at the past may help us change the future for the better. Although a complete catalog of the past 50 years would be impossible in this short article, we give a decade-by-decade synopsis of software development theory and practice, focusing particularly on attitudes and trends that have shaped current software development methods. Perhaps by examining past trends-successes and failures-we can uncover clues as to what avenues to explore in improving future software systems.