Michi Henning's article on the history of CORBA in the latest Queue is very good indeed. Henning has biases (he's got his own middleware solution) but the article never strays too far. It's opinionated, but accurate. Some of the timeline discussion is a little overblown but not too much (CORBA's popularity didn't have quite the triumphant ballooning and deflating that he describes; there were critics and hesitation all along). Very worthwhile read for those interested in Web Services.