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Date: Tue, 07 Oct 2014 22:41:03 -0400 (EDT)
From: "David A. Wheeler" <>
To: "oss-security" <>
Subject: Re: Separating code and data

On Tue, 7 Oct 2014 16:40:22 +0000, "Mehaffey, John" <> wrote:
> I think that separating code and data belongs on David's list of "Most Important
> Software Innovations" (, although
> arguably the "Separating Text Content from Format" innovation is an example 
> of the class.

Ah!  Thanks for remembering my page!!  

It's certainly true that there are real security advantages to separating code and data.  This topic brings up the old Harvard architecture vs. Von Neumann architecture discussion.  However, I think that the idea of having separate code and data streams is actually much older than digital computers.  The Jacquard loom separated code and data, and that dates to 1801.  The innovation was actually probably the other way, Von Neumann's allowing their *combination* ("Baby" is usually considered the first working example).

--- David A. Wheeler

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