Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 2nd May 2014 20:03 UTC
Talk, Rumors, X Versus Y

So I set myself the task of picking five great works of software. The criteria were simple: How long had it been around? Did people directly interact with it every day? Did people use it to do something meaningful? I came up with the office suite Microsoft Office, the image editor Photoshop, the videogame Pac-Man, the operating system Unix, and the text editor Emacs.

Each person has his or her own criteria for these sorts of things, but in my view, this list is woefully inadequate. If it were up to me, I would pick these, in no particular order:

  • A-0 System: the first ever compiler, written by Grace Hopper in 1951 and 1952, for the UNIVAC I.
  • UNIX: This one's a given.
  • WorldWideWeb/CERN HTTPd: the first web browser and the first web server, both written by Tim Berners-Lee. Also a given.
  • Xerox Star: this one is actually a tie between the Star, its research predecessor the Alto, and Douglas Engelbart's NLS. These three combined still define the way we do computing today - whether you look at a desktop, a smartphone, or a tablet. I decided to go with the Star because it was the only one of the three that was commercially available, and because it's so incredibly similar to what we still use today.
  • Windows: you cannot have a list of the greatest software of all time without Windows. You may not like it, you may even hate it, but the impact Windows has had on the computing world - and far, far beyond that - is immense. Not including it is a huge disservice to the operating system that put a computer on every desk, in every home.

This leaves a whole bunch of others out, such as Lotus 1-2-3, DOS, the Mac OS, Linux, and god knows what else - but such is the nature of lists like this.

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Use your definition
by jonsmirl on Fri 2nd May 2014 22:14 UTC
jonsmirl
Member since:
2005-07-06

WWW is not a great work of software, it is a great work of networking.

Linux is the first massively collaborative software project in the world. That is why it makes the list.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Use your definition
by Hayoo! on Sat 3rd May 2014 04:24 in reply to "Use your definition"
Hayoo! Member since:
2013-04-13

WWW is not a great work of software, it is a great work of networking.

You confuse WWW with the Internet. They're two related but different works of engineering. Internet is the networking part. WWW is only concerned with how to easily and efficiently interlink documents over the Internet (or networks in general) based on client-server scheme using HTTP for client-server communication. You can have a complete WWW implementation (server and client) on a single physical computer, but you can not have 'the Internet' on it ('Internet access' is a different thing). Internet itself is short for internetwork; even that alone shows what the term refers to (a network of interconnected distributed autonomous networks).

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Use your definition
by jonsmirl on Sat 3rd May 2014 14:14 in reply to "RE: Use your definition"
jonsmirl Member since:
2005-07-06

The software behind the WWW is a giant pile of junk. What makes it popular is the tremendous viral networking phenomena behind it

TCP/IP is another great networking work. It is independent of the WWW and far predates it. TCP/IP is another viral network.

Reply Parent Score: 1

The WWW with HTML made
by pica on Sat 3rd May 2014 09:16 in reply to "Use your definition"
pica Member since:
2005-07-10

"As We May Think" (Vannevar Bush)

feasable.

As such I consider it great work.

pica

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Use your definition
by thegman on Mon 5th May 2014 01:50 in reply to "Use your definition"
thegman Member since:
2007-01-30

WWW is not a great work of software, it is a great work of networking.

Linux is the first massively collaborative software project in the world. That is why it makes the list.


No, the WWW is software, at least implementations of the WWW are software. The WWW and the Internet are not the same thing, nowhere near the same thing.

The Internet is the networking, the WWW is the rendered pages you see before you, rendered by software. Even HTTP is just a protocol that runs on top of the network. HTTP and WWW is just stuff that runs on top the networking. The network was there before the WWW and will be there after it.

Reply Parent Score: 5