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Author Topic: What's the Greatest Software Ever Written?  (Read 8269 times)

zridling

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What's the Greatest Software Ever Written?
« on: September 03, 2006, 08:11:09 PM »
What's the Greatest Software Ever Written? by Charles Babcock of InformationWeek is an article I completely missed last month. Very interesting, as he considers industrial and scientific software, not just desktop software, and he goes way back, too. Here's the conclusion; you decide:

     10. Apollo guidance system
     9. Excel spreadsheet
     8. Macintosh OS
     7. Sabre system
     6. Mosaic browser
     5. Java language
     4. IBM System 360 OS
     3. Gene-sequencing software at the Institute for Genomic Research
     2. IBM's System R
     1. The Unix operating system
Whaaa? I can't believe Windows 1.0, RealPlayer, or WinFax didn't make the list!  ;)

Renegade

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Re: What's the Greatest Software Ever Written?
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2006, 08:44:01 PM »
Ummm...

I didn't really like his assessment of VisiCalc. It seems to me that ten years or so of development in Excel is bound to blow away the original. Hardly a fair assessment.

By that token, how does Mosaic get on the list? FF or IE should be good candidates there. Seems like a bit of a double standard. About Mosaic he says, "In other words, great software that opened the floodgates." Well, how does that not apply to VisiCalc?

And while UNIX (or Mac OS) may be great, it's still Windows that made computing accessible to the masses. That doesn't count?

Java? Huh? WTF? .NET is Java done right. How the heck does Java get in there?

Why not cite an example of an FFT algorithm? DSP programming drives all the really hardcore scientific applications.

He doesn't seem consistent to me. Excel wins on quality, but Java wins on innovation. Apples and oranges. Either we're talking about great quality or greatly innovative, but he's mixing them.

I dunno... Maybe I'm just getting a bit jaded with all the "Top 10" lists out there.
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mouser

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Re: What's the Greatest Software Ever Written?
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2006, 08:51:51 PM »
What's particularly confusing in that list is, is that some of the entries make sense if we are talking about historical significance (Mosaic), but then many of the other entries don't make sense.

Quote
Maybe I'm just getting a bit jaded with all the "Top 10" lists out there.
exactly. you took the words out of my mouth.

« Last Edit: September 03, 2006, 08:54:13 PM by mouser »

ravenlaughs

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Re: What's the Greatest Software Ever Written?
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2006, 11:00:40 PM »
"Greatest" means what, in other words. All I could vote for would be "most useful to me" - probably IrfanView.  ;D
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rjbull

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Re: What's the Greatest Software Ever Written?
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2006, 04:30:25 AM »
And while UNIX (or Mac OS) may be great, it's still Windows that made computing accessible to the masses.

I'd have thought that DOS made computing available to the masses, at least in the sense of a tool commonly used at work, and by that fact, kick-started the move of computers into everyday life?


f0dder

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Re: What's the Greatest Software Ever Written?
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2006, 06:00:38 AM »
Heh, they list Java but not C/C++? Java innovation my ass.
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app103

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Re: What's the Greatest Software Ever Written?
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2006, 06:10:43 AM »
opening floodgates...

The first BBS software?

And didn't Windows open floodgates along with IBM by helping make computers usable and affordable to the common person...like your Grandma...not just business?

And what about AOL? They opened up the floodgates to the internet for the masses by making it so easy.

And Turbo Pascal? Delphi? Visual Basic? You don't need to be a total geek to write software any more.


and...

WHAT ABOUT ATARI'S PONG???!!!!!  ;D

(I shouldn't have to tell you how important that was and why)

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Re: What's the Greatest Software Ever Written?
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2006, 07:56:51 AM »
"Greatest" means what, in other words. All I could vote for would be "most useful to me" - probably IrfanView.  ;D
C'mon! You're living in the past! Porn is available online in movies now and not just images!  :D
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zridling

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Re: What's the Greatest Software Ever Written?
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2006, 01:59:06 AM »
Perhaps the author misnamed his list. Seems that "Most Influential Software Ever Written" is more appropriate to his choices.

mouser

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Re: What's the Greatest Software Ever Written?
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2006, 02:06:41 AM »
yeah those items make a bit more sense in that context.  still debatable but more defensible for sure.

jpfx

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Re: What's the Greatest Software Ever Written?
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2006, 06:20:46 PM »
'hello world' in whatever language you first did it in :Thmbsup:
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zridling

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Re: What's the Greatest Software Ever Written?
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2006, 03:57:20 AM »
Holy crap jp, that's cruel man!

mouser

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Re: What's the Greatest Software Ever Written?
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2006, 04:21:30 AM »
i think jpfx was just saying that, from a programmer's perspective, the best program for you will be the first program you ever write (typically a "hello world" type program).

app103

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Re: What's the Greatest Software Ever Written?
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2006, 12:11:47 AM »
'hello world' in whatever language you first did it in :Thmbsup:

In some ways I have to agree...from a personal perspective. But for the rest of the world, I don't think they would agree that this should be on the list.  :-[

I would maybe change that to be this: your first original program. The first one that you expended a bit of creative energy on and wrote something different than what you knew to be available elsewhere.

housetier

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Re: What's the Greatest Software Ever Written?
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2006, 10:38:59 AM »
If we go by "most influential" how can we leave out


Of course this is 100% subjective and very offensive to others (who just haven't seen the light yet)  :P


f0dder

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Re: What's the Greatest Software Ever Written?
« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2006, 05:29:14 PM »
VIM is pretty interesting, I'm trying to "get into it". It's a pain to start with, but I can see how (if you make it past the initial "ugh" barrier) a lot of editing tasks could be pretty speedy with it.

For development, visual studio still has advantages over it though - the stuff you can do with a "browse database" is really nifty, and the debugger is classy too. But when you don't need those features, VIM does seem handy. And a lot more fun to run on a laptop - vs.net *is* pretty damn heavy :)
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alxwz

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Re: What's the Greatest Software Ever Written?
« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2006, 06:10:13 PM »
How about the "clean room" reverse engineering of IBM's PC BIOS by Compaq and Phoenix (whoever was first), that ignited the proliferation of PCs (clones) in the first place?
Certainly one of the all-time most influential pieces of software.

Lashiec

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Re: What's the Greatest Software Ever Written?
« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2006, 06:38:25 AM »
If we go by "most influential" how can we leave out


Of course this is 100% subjective and very offensive to others (who just haven't seen the light yet)  :P



 >:( VIM??? I saw the light, and it was so blinding that I closed my eyes and I showed my back to the screen. It's the most horrible piece of software ever written. I admit it's powerful and all, but let me you that controlling the cursor movement via the keyboard and the stupid idea of the two modes it's not really the brightest idea in computing history. But hey, if there is some Emacs fanatic we can do an UNIX text editor war. Emacs adds so many useful for text editing, like playing Tetris for example  ;D

Seriously, the best app ever written is either Windows Calculator or FreeCell. Easy to use, they do their job, they have no bugs... FreeCell save so many lazy hours... and it made enterprises lose so much money...  :D

f0dder

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Re: What's the Greatest Software Ever Written?
« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2006, 06:58:20 AM »
I've recently started using/learning VIM for my coding tasks (but still fire up Notepad++ for regular text files). The syntax highlighting in VIM is great, it has powerful RegEx support, and while the "modal" nature is confusing at first, it's very powerful... with just a couple of keystrokes, you can delete a {block} of code, delete the next three words, etc etc etc. Features that are pretty handy when programming. And it's nice that you don't have to take your hands off the keyboard.

I wouldn't mind to see the "buffers" die, though, and only have "tabs" left.

Quote from: Lashiec
but let me you that controlling the cursor movement via the keyboard
Huh? When using a text editor, I hate having to use the mouse.

EMACS is too big and bloated imho, and has an even steeper learning curve than VIM.
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jgpaiva

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Re: What's the Greatest Software Ever Written?
« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2006, 07:38:06 AM »
I wouldn't mind to see the "buffers" die, though, and only have "tabs" left.
I wouldn't like that, i love being able to divide the screen in half, with 2 buffers on each side! :D

Actually, one thing i don't like about vim is the fact that, if you're editing a not saved buffer, you can't open another one unless you save the current one or divide the screen. (or open a new tab ;) )

f0dder

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Re: What's the Greatest Software Ever Written?
« Reply #20 on: September 14, 2006, 07:43:54 AM »
I wouldn't mind to see the "buffers" die, though, and only have "tabs" left.
I wouldn't like that, i love being able to divide the screen in half, with 2 buffers on each side! :D

Actually, one thing i don't like about vim is the fact that, if you're editing a not saved buffer, you can't open another one unless you save the current one or divide the screen. (or open a new tab ;) )
That's a useful feature, sure, but IMHO it shouldn't be implemented via "buffers", but via the UI code...
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housetier

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Re: What's the Greatest Software Ever Written?
« Reply #21 on: September 14, 2006, 09:51:31 AM »
Actually, one thing i don't like about vim is the fact that, if you're editing a not saved buffer, you can't open another one unless you save the current one or divide the screen. (or open a new tab ;) )

This is where :set hidden comes into play.

I wish I could tell lashiec about http://cream.sourceforge.net/home.html without giving in to the flamewar that was wished for. I am not sure I should respond to the post at all.

f0dder, what do you mean by "ui code" with regards to buffers?

f0dder

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Re: What's the Greatest Software Ever Written?
« Reply #22 on: September 14, 2006, 10:14:13 AM »
housetier, as I see it you can currently have multiple "buffers" per "window" (where, in the windows version, a "window" can be either a tab or another instance of vim). I'd prefer if opening a new file would always create a visual indication that a file was opened... I'm off to work, so I can't explain it better right now.
- carpe noctem