Ethnic Software is a subcategory of applications software. In 1988, before the Internet reached mass consumption levels it was reported that AfroLink Software, Inc. had released a CD-ROM program with animation and sound featuring 500 questions and answers about black Americans and African history for Meharry Medical College and Howard University Hospital. * This ethnic software educated lay people about diseases that disproportionately afflict black people.
* In 1985, SpiritDatatree Online, a dialup BBS node originating in Boston, launched its black software discovery search across more than 50 nationwide AfroNet Fido network nodes.
* From 1994 - through 1999, American Visions magazine, then, the official magazine of the Afro-American Museums Association, was operating an online business named GO AFRO on AOL / COMPUSERVE online networks and it featured a discussion among black software inventors, consumers and others interested in Black Software for four years.
Microsoft published an African American and Black World version of its popular Encarta CD ROM software encylopedia. The new version named Encarta Africana was announced in 1999 by the Chair of African and African American Studies and the Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University who authored the Encarta Africana CD for Microsoft. * You can view a video here about the release of Encarta Africana.
Betye Saar's 1999 CD-ROM titled "Digital Griot" art showcase and Mumia Abu-Jamal's "Live from Death Row" computerized story about his involvement with the Black Panthers and the MOVE organization, were published by Voyager, a software company distributing interesting educational CD ROMS that run on Windows and Mac OS enabled computers, made their debut for the masses and were reviewed by Wired Magazine.
In October of the year 2000, Black Enterprise magazine's Tech Watch column referred readers to African American software products being provided by companies and web sites (including this one), in response to a reader's query who wrote a letter to the editor asking where to find software containing learning and history topics with African American themes for young children.
Ethnic software programmed by the African American has been referred to as BLACKWARE or blacksoftware. Created by AfroCentrists, these screen savers, clip art, and multimedia CD-ROMs were important as various Digital Divide initiatives spurred African American and Hispanic pc ownership and internet use.
The Ethnic Software Project explains The Yiddish Typewriter programmed by Raphael Finkel.