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A sidebar to the article “The Lisa Computer System,” published in Byte, issue 2/1983, pp. 36.

It is instructive to see to what degree software is a part of Apple products. The basic Apple II, released in 1977, comes with about 16K bytes of object code. The Apple III, released in 1980, has about 200K bytes of code. The Lisa has more than 2 megabytes (2048K bytes) of code, a staggering figure that hints at the tremendous effort that goes into implementing a good piece of software.

The history of microcomputing has been exciting so far because it has enabled individuals working in their spare time to make significant contributions to the state of the art. But that has changed: now most state-of-the-art software is the province of teams of programmers hired by companies, as opposed to individual programmers working for themselves. As programs grow more sophisticated (requiring teams of programmers) and have to be more carefully planned to meet users’ needs (requiring experts in given fields to be added to the team of designers), the implementation of programs is becoming a team effort. The days of the successful entrepreneur/programmer are probably gone.

Page added on 15th November 2003.

Copyright © 2002-2006 Marcin Wichary, unless stated otherwise.