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InformationWeek: What’s the Greatest Software Ever Written

Since reading the brilliant “High Fidelity” by Nick Hornsby I realised that geeks and top lists is a match made in heaven.

InformationWeek has one of the best researched and interesting ones I’ve seen in a long time, click the link below to read the article:

InformationWeek: What’s the Greatest Software Ever Written

In order for software to be “great”, it “simply” has to fulfil it’s mission perfectly. That’s actually a tall order, and the world could be paved several times over with failed software projects.

So what’s the greatest software of all time:

Colossus the code breaking computer from Bletchley Park that helped break the code of the German Engima machine, estimated to have helped end the war two years early?

The Apollo navigation computer, an exercise in simplicity.

No the winner is UNIX, and especially BSD 4.3.

BSD and the BSD license inspired the ideas of the Free Software Foundation, GNU, Linux and the entire open source community.

I tend to agree, that UNIX is the greatest software ever written, and guess what I’m finally using it as well, 20 years after I realised that I had to learn it, I didn’t get much further than learning the ls command back then however. But thanks to the brilliant combination of the most beautiful GUI on the market, and an open source version of BSD UNIX called Darwin, UNIX now has a friendly face. The friendly face is called Mac OS X.

PS. The original Mac OS is included on the list, and even though it was more than “inspired” by the work done at Xerox PARC, it was indeed great software. I clearly remember the first time I saw a Macintosh in January of 1985, the face of computing had been changed, and it actually doesn’t look that different today.

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