This is a follow-up to my other post: Quality minefield in a world where “everything is software!” – Looking back at the 2003 summer blackout.
During the first Gulf War, the Patriot Missile System had a bug in its time tracking software which proved disastrous in Feb. 1991. As the system was in operation for more than 100 hours the internal clock drifted by 0.34 which distorted the calculations for tracking the incoming SCUD missiles allowing one to penetrate killing 28 soldiers and injuring 98.1 You can read more about similar bugs in: 10 Seriously Epic Computer Software Bugs
I think the following comic is relevant to the idea that “everything is software”2
Do you remember Marc Andreessen? Do you remember Netscape from the late 1990s? Well, Marc had a key role in developing Netscape and allowing it to become a very successful web browser while an undergraduate student at the University of Illinois. That earned him the cover of Time in 1996:
Lately, he’s involved in a number of venture capital firms investing in technology companies such as GitHub. I think it’s interesting to read Marc Andreessen’s views on the future in his Wall Street Journal article of 2011, “Why Software Is Eating The World.” I agree with him that software is revolutionizing our world and its growth will definitely shake up a lot of industries. He points out, for example, to Netflix with about 2,200 employees which has “almost single-handedly put 7,000 video rental stores out of business.”3
Others have pointed out that his predictions seem a bit gloomy. Here are some excerpts of Marc’s article. As a comparison, I think Eric Feng has a short great essay that covers the optimism of “when everything is software“. What do you think?