RS-232 may not be a droid from Star Wars, but it sure was a force to be reckoned with in the computing world. Developed in the 1960s by Bob Flanders and colleagues at the Electronic Equipment Engineering (EEE) division of the Bendix Corporation, RS-232 quickly became a popular and important means of communication between computers and other devices.
Despite its origins in the pre-Star Wars era, RS-232 was a rebel alliance in its own right, paving the way for modern computing by providing a standardized protocol for serial communication. With its simple yet reliable design, RS-232 made it possible for computers to communicate with a wide range of peripherals, from printers and modems to scientific instruments and industrial control systems.
Of course, like any good hero’s journey, RS-232 had its share of trials and tribulations. Early implementations of the standard were often plagued by compatibility issues, leading to a plethora of different connector types and signaling schemes. But over time, the standard evolved to become more streamlined and efficient, culminating in the widely adopted RS-232C specification in 1969.
Today, RS-232 may have been largely replaced by newer and faster communication protocols like USB and Ethernet, but its legacy lives on. From its humble beginnings as a way to connect teletype machines to computers, RS-232 helped lay the foundation for the digital revolution that has transformed the world in the decades since.
So let’s raise a glass of blue milk to RS-232, the scrappy little protocol that could. May the force be with it, always.