On the cover of OSGi in Depth is “A man from Kastela,” a village in the Dalmatian region of Croatia. The illustration is taken from a reproduction of an album of Croatian traditional costumes from the mid-nineteenth century by Nikola Arsenovic, published by the Ethnographic Museum in Split, Croatia, in 2003. The illustrations were obtained from a helpful librarian at the Ethnographic Museum in Split, itself situated in the Roman core of the medieval center of the town: the ruins of Emperor Diocletian’s retirement palace from around AD 304. The book includes finely colored illustrations of figures from different regions of Croatia, accompanied by descriptions of the costumes and of everyday life.
Kastela is comprised of a series of seven towns in central Dalmatia, located northwest of Split. Once an ancient Greek port, a stopover point for the Roman army, and a summer place for Croatian kings, Kastela today is a vibrant tourist resort, with long sandy beaches, beautiful terraces, tennis courts, and other sports venues, surrounded by the lush greenery of pine and tamaris trees. The figure on the cover wears a costume typical for this region of Croatia—blue woolen trousers and jacket, decorated with fancy embroidery, and a red pillbox cap called a crvenkapa.
Dress codes and lifestyles have changed over the last 200 years, and the diversity by region, so rich at the time, has faded away. It is now hard to tell apart the inhabitants of different continents, let alone of different hamlets or towns separated by only a few miles. Perhaps we have traded cultural diversity for a more varied personal life—certainly for a more varied and fast-paced technological life.
Manning celebrates the inventiveness and initiative of the computer business with book covers based on the rich diversity of regional life of two centuries ago, brought back to life by illustrations from old books and collections like this one.