Software I am most thankful for

There are a number of articles about being thankful, as this is the American holiday Thanksgiving.

What software am I thankful for? I have several that I would name:

  • UNIX. UNIX was created by researchers at AT&T in 1969; nothing has been the same since AT&T let it loose. Its descendents are everywhere today, and provide sustenance for me and my family.
  • BSD. BSD and the pioneering work by the Computer Systems Research Group (CSRG) gave us freely available BSD variants, the Fast File System, vi, csh and lots more innovations – not to mention the commercial start of Sun Solaris.
  • Mosaic. This software package was possibly the first graphical web browser, and thus the beginning of the World Wide Web as we know it today; nothing has ever been the same since.
  • gcc. It was this C compiler that helped galvanize a revolution in software development, leading to the massive open source arena we know today. If it were not for gcc, how many projects would now lay fallow and dormant?
  • Emacs. Yes, Emacs. I do love vi, and use it first by choice, and will always. But it was Emacs that gave the impetus to create the Free Software Foundation, which organization has done more for open source and free software than can ever be repaid. Emacs also led directly to the creation of the GNU General Public License (or GPL).
  • HP-UX. This is the operating system that fills my days with work and my pockets with change. How can I be but thankful for that?

There’s lots of other things to be thankful for other than software – I, for one, am most thankful for you, dear reader, for letting me write to you for these many months. I’ve no intention of stopping any time soon.

One thought on “Software I am most thankful for”

  1. Nice list… I too am thankful for everything you’ve listed… even HP-UX… it has provided me we tons of legacy code to maintain and make portable..

    1 Correction: the first graphical web browser was the ‘WorldWideWeb Browser’ developed by CERN for NeXTSTEP…. that said, I think we can all credit Mosaic for bringing the idea of a web browser to the public

    and 1 addition… Linux… love it or hate it just like GCC and Emacs have changed the way we think about software, and Linux is on the forefront of public distribution.

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