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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by tacks on Sat 3rd May 2014 12:12 UTC
Member since:

"There two kinds of people in this world. People who goes through the effort of making substantial things, and people who make lists of those things."

- Alan Kay

So true...

Edited 2014-05-03 12:13 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: lame
by pica on Sat 3rd May 2014 12:35 in reply to "lame"
pica Member since:

So true...

Yes, so true ...

But in my view discussing on great systems communicates
* what others think
* what attributes & features are valued by others
* where others set the bar
* ...

And as a result enables synergies that might result in new systems commonly considered great.

That aspect is my motivation to join that discussion. I can learn.


PS Well yes, that diuscussion requires boring lists.

PPS Some make good statements, some cite good statements

Edited 2014-05-03 12:41 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: lame
by Thom_Holwerda on Sat 3rd May 2014 12:57 in reply to "lame"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:

The actual quote goes like this:

"There two kinds of people in this world. People who goes through the effort of making substantial things, and people who make lists of those things. Oh shit, and of course people who then comment on how lame those lists are. They aren't even worth mentioning so I stuck with two."

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: lame
by pica on Sat 3rd May 2014 13:20 in reply to "RE: lame"
pica Member since:

Gratulation, I consider your statement on par with Arthur Schopenhauer's essays.


Edited 2014-05-03 13:21 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: lame
by JLF65 on Sun 4th May 2014 17:39 in reply to "RE: lame"
JLF65 Member since:

I thought the quote was "There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who don't."

Reply Parent Score: 5