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.