Intelligent Machines

Special Report: Software Goes Extreme

PC legends Charles Simonyi’s and Mitch Kapor’s upstart ventures aim to create software that does what you want it to do and never crashes. Our exclusive report brings you to the front lines of the new software revolution.

Charles Simonyi and Mitch Kapor invented the software that helped kick-start the PC revolution. Now they’re at it again, investing their fortunes in ventures aimed at finally creating programs that do what you want them to and never crash. In a future envisioned by these iconoclasts and a growing body of companies, including IBM and Sun Microsystems, programs repair themselves, and the desktop metaphor is replaced by computer interfaces that put information at your fingertips depending on what job needs doing, not what application you’re running.

The days when it was feasible to build a bridge, trade a stock, or prepare a report without software are long gone. But that doesn’t mean we have to settle for today’s typical applications, which have an infuriating tendency to fail when we need them most. Indeed, it’s hard not to share Kapor’s view that the average software user “really gets screwed.” And once you’ve read what he and his fellow radicals plan to do about that, you may share their impatience. Welcome to the new software revolution.

Everyone’s A Programmer
Software is collapsing under the weight of its own complexity. Charles Simonyi’s simplicity solution: Let programmers design code and leave the details to computers.

This story is part of our November 2003 Issue
See the rest of the issue
Subscribe

Trash Your Desktop
Mitch Kapor’s new interface will put all the information we need to manage our digital lives at our fingertips.

Extreme Programming: The Zero G Experience
How a software company saved itself by overhauling its development process–and trusting its engineers’ instincts.

From Artificial Intelligence to Artificial Biology?
The ultimate goal for programming: software that heals itself.

Become an MIT Technology Review Insider for in-depth analysis and unparalleled perspective.

Subscribe today

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from Intelligent Machines

Artificial intelligence and robots are transforming how we work and live.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus ad-free web experience, select discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly magazine delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Access to the magazine PDF archive—thousands of articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips

    Special discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.