LinkLog: Deleted All The Software On The Planet

From Richard P. Gabriel – The Science of Nothing At All:

Imagine this: Dionysus has deleted all the software on the planet – what’s going to happen? You won’t be able to surf the Web, send email, make and run spreadsheets, use word processors, and download music. No more anonymously available dirty pictures, no more mapping services, no more reading newspapers from around the world, no more computer and video games, no more pocket organizers, no more modern warfare, governments will come to a halt. Well, that’s not so bad.

Oh, and movies will have cheesier special effects, Playboy centerfolds will seem to have more blemishes, buying airline tickets won’t work well, booking hotels will take longer, no one will be going into space, you’ll mostly be watching local TV, you won’t be getting the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and The Economist in the mail, some airplanes will fall out of the sky.

Wait, what’s that? – This is getting serious. No more telephones, some buildings will stop being livable, most cars will stop running, food won’t be delivered efficiently, health care – don’t want to think about that. We’d be thrown suddenly back into the 1950s or 1940s. Just about everything we do every day will change or disappear.

Software is a real part of our lives, a real part of the world. If it wasn’t real, then why does deleting it break so many things? Well of course it’s real: Big companies make lots of money creating it: Microsoft, Oracle, IBM; even smaller ones: Netscape, Borland, Adobe. A few million people earn their livings writing software, an equal number attend to those who create programs: documentation writers, testers, managers, customer support folks.

What’s writing software like?

What follows is a gripping tale. A must read, if you are a software professional.

2 thoughts on “LinkLog: Deleted All The Software On The Planet

  1. I’ve been involved with the CMM process as it was evolving to the CMMI in the early 90’s. Also taught graduate level software engineering as well as lead corporate software teams. This article looks interesting, but really seems like a retelling of the history of application development – just given a snazzy head and deck.

  2. Thank you for that observation. I think it does a good job of putting in context various methodologies and their place in software development.

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