In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Software That's Great, And Not So Much
2. Today's Top Story
- What's The Greatest Software Ever Written?
- Blog: 5 That Almost Made The List Of Greatest Software Ever
- How Windows Measures On The Scale Of Greatness
3. Breaking News
- Experts Ratchet Up Windows Worm Warnings
- Symantec Beta Comes With A Painful Catch For Norton Users
- VMware, XenSource Join Virtualization Forces For Linux
- GoDaddy Launches Podcast Service
- Review: JotSpot's 'Less Nerdy' Wiki Still Needs A Little Work
- Brief: Microsoft Will Reopen Vista Test With RC1
- RFID Market Sends Mixed Messages
- 5 Ways To Lock Up Your E-Mail
- Symantec Backup Exec Flaw Enables Remote Control
- Brief: Vista Coupons Reportedly Set For October
- IronPort Appliance Tries To Give Bounce Spam The Boot
- Red Hat Readies New Linux Desktop Upgrade To Vie With Novell
4. Grab Bag
- High-Tech Plain Talk (Baltimore Sun)
- 25 Years Of The IBM PC (BBC News)
- An Awakening In Bihar (BusinessWeek)
5. In Depth: Corporate Ethics
- Former Brocade Execs Face New Stock Option Charges
- SanDisk Sued Over M-Systems Acquisition
- Broadcom To Delay 10Q Filing
- Phone-Spying Cases Move To One Court
- Rights Group Blasts Internet Companies Over China Policies
6. Voice Of Authority
- Intel Preparing Students For Multicore Future
7. White Papers
- Achieve Immediate Cost, Productivity, And Security Benefits By Automating IT Management
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription
Quotes of the day:
"It's hardware that makes a machine fast. It's software that makes a fast machine slow." -- Craig Bruce
"Software Engineering might be science; but that's not what I do. I'm a hacker, not an engineer." -- Jamie Zawinski
"Software development is technical activity conducted by human beings." -- Niklaus Wirth
1. Editor's Note: Software That's Great, And Not So Much
Our top-story package today looks at "The Greatest Software Ever Written." That may sound fairly presumptive, but our reporter on this is the right man for the job. Charles Babcock has been watching software trends unfold for over two decades now.
Charles has long had a particular affinity for software, and he understands quite a lot about how it works and what makes for simple yet elegant design. He's covered everything from databases to open source and virtualization, from mainframe to desktop. He covered software metrics (remember "programmer productivity"?) a few years backokay, maybe a few more than a fewand has been around through the Unix wars and the debates over relational versus hierarchical database management systems.
To be sure, Charles is a tough crowd. To make his list, a particular type of software has to be a programming accomplishmentin other words, it must advance the art of software from a technology perspectiveand it must have had a major effect on society, or a substantial subset of society, or the computer industry as a whole. Perhaps it sparked a revolution in how we interact with each other, like Tim Berners-Lee did with the World Wide Web, or perhaps it changed the way we find information, as Google did with its search software. Going back some, and from a historical perspective, the Apollo 11 guidance system makes Charles' list not only because it helped land men on the moon in 1969, but because it had to do so within the 8 Kbytes of memory available in the on-board computer.
"Great software dazzles us by virtue of what it does correctly in the face of everything that could go wrong," Charles writes.
Equally instructive, in terms of Charles' frame of mind as he was thinking about this topic, is his blog entry about software that didn't make the list of the greatest, but that might have on a different day, or if he'd had another type of food for lunch, as he says. On this list of almost-but-not-quite: Smalltalk, video games, Sketchpad, GPS systems, and virtualization.
Take our poll and let us know
which software you think is the best of all time. And if you have a bone to pick about any of our choices, or why something was left off our list, please let us know what we should have included. We want to know what you think, even if you want to tell us what a bunch of morons we are.
After all, as Charles e-mailed me when I asked him what if anything surprised him as he was putting this package together, this is a "somewhat personal and arbitrary process." For instance, he started out convinced that VisiCalc should make the list of greatest software, but "to my chagrin, the more I considered the case, the stronger my estimation of Excel grew." Overall, he says he learned things he didn't already know about software, including the history of BSD Unix, which he now views as the "progenitor of the open-source movement."
The only thing he would have done differently? "The list would have stretched to 25" if he had had more time.
Experts Ratchet Up Windows Worm Warnings
The bug in question is one of 23 patched Tuesday by Microsoft. It affects all currently supported versions of Windows, can be exploited without end users needing to do anything, and according to some security watchers, rivals the bug that led to 2003's destructive MSBlast attack.
RFID Market Sends Mixed Messages
Vendor Alien Technology recently withdrew its planned initial public offering, and analysts point to other signs of slowdown, even as companies including Wal-Mart move ahead with their implementations.
5 Ways To Lock Up Your E-Mail
Malicious e-mail is on the rise. We've set up five steps to secure your e-mail against its biggest security threats.
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We invite you to benchmark your security approach against those of your global peers with this fast, informative, and confidential security tool from InformationWeek and Accenture, a management consulting and technology services company.
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Former Brocade Execs Face New Stock Option Charges
Gregory Reyes, Brocade's former president, chairman, and CEO, and Stephanie Jensen, the company's former vice president of human resources, were charged this week in a new 12-count indictment for a scheme to backdate stock option grants to give employees favorably priced options.
Broadcom To Delay 10Q Filing
An ongoing investigation into stock option grants is the cause, and at this point there's no new estimated date for the filing for the quarter ended June 30.
Phone-Spying Cases Move To One Court
A panel decided this week that the lawsuits involving the National Security Agency and telephone records would move to the Northern District Court of California because that's where the earliest and most advanced action is pending "before a judge already well versed in the issues."
Rights Group Blasts Internet Companies Over China Policies
Human Rights Watch says Western nations should pass laws to protect Chinese political activists because companies like Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo are more focused on working with Chinese authorities in a race to establish market share in that country.
6. Voice Of Authority
Intel Preparing Students For Multicore Future
The technology evolution that may well most significantly change the course of computing over the remainder of the decade and beyond is multicore processing, Darrell Dunn says. This trend will, however, add complexity to both hardware and software design. Intel hopes to ease the transition to multicore processing with new programs at major universities that target the next generation of software designers.
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5 Top Federal Initiatives For 2015As InformationWeek Government readers were busy firming up their fiscal year 2015 budgets, we asked them to rate more than 30 IT initiatives in terms of importance and current leadership focus. No surprise, among more than 30 options, security is No. 1. After that, things get less predictable.
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.