Remember the Simpson’s episode with Homer on top of Moe’s bar with his band?
Limo pulls up, George Harrison pokes his head out and says, “It’s been done”.
Well, that’s kind of the way I feel about the current state of affairs in
the software field.
Remember when an “operating system” was something to fear and hold in awe?
How did those guys do it? What made it work? How did their memory system
work? Nowadays, it’s “been done”. POSIX says “this is the set of functions
you will have”. QSSL, to their credit, has done an excellent job in implementing
the POSIX specs, leaving very little to the imagination. Sure, QNX 4 and Neutrino
are really “clean” implementations of operating systems, taking tons of talent
and so on to do, but… “it’s been done”.
The separation between filesystem, TCP/IP stack, device drivers, and core OS
is again so well done that it leaves little to “wonder” at.
Remember compilers? This was something that was almost “godlike” in its
ability to “understand” C code and generate low level machine code.
Nowadays, “it’s been done”.
There are tons of other examples.
The database guys haven’t progressed – a database is still not some kind of
wonderful, futuristic AI-like replacement for memory, it’s just a set of indexes
into files. Wheee… “it’s been done”.
The point of this tirade (and I did warn you-all it would be one )
is that I’m really kinda bored – what’s going to be
the “next” exciting thing in the software field that you can hold in awe
and terror (like OS’s and compilers used to be)?
About the only thing that jumps out at me is the field of AI – and this is
because of two things: my own general ignorance of the state-of-the-art in
the field, and my perception that it’s all just the same old crap – do they
still use LISP? Are they any closer to making a truly artificial intelligence?
I don’t need something that looks and acts like a human – if it is truly
“artificial” it could have its own way of looking at the world and interacting
with it – that’s fine. It doesn’t need to love, or express emotion, or be
able to compose music (necessarily). It just needs to be able to do something
that shows its intelligence.
Anyway, I’m done. Anyone have any ideas on what would be “fun”? (apart from
restoring old computers, of course )
Robert Krten, PARSE Software Devices +1 613 599 8316.
Realtime Systems Architecture, Books, Video-based and Instructor-led
Training and Consulting at www.parse.com.
Email my initials at parse dot com.