World Domination

I started writing software in the early 70s at high school and commercially from 1980.

I always felt that software would ultimately afford a greater opportunity for world domination for a single company or individual than any other field in human history. This may seem kind of strange to others. However because of the strange, sticky interlocking nature of real world software as I experienced it and because MooresLaw seemed sure to apply to the hardware that it ran on for the foreseeable future, I instinctively came to this conclusion.

It was an immature view - but the latest rankings of the world's richest people suggest that it may not have been totally groundless either. Given that I didn't buy stock in MicrosoftCorporation in the early 80s, some wouldn't consider it that useful a view. But in a modified form the same concern has stayed with me - in a form that I'd prefer to call on Wiki the ImbalanceOfPower.

I can see four things on the software horizon right now that could prove my original fears groundless. Two of them are almost entirely good in my mind - and they are Wiki and ExtremeProgramming (I'm including the growing consensus towards more democratic, Web interactivity and EvolutionaryDelivery under these headings because of the quality of the people now aligning themselves with these emerging 'brands').

In the FreeSoftware movement I always felt that RichardStallman had a much better grip on reality that most people gave him credit for - but like PeterDeutsch and others I haven't been entirely convinced of the practicality of his proposals for ending the ImbalanceOfPower.

The other factor isn't so good - the possibility of the end of the world as we know it or something approaching it due to either the fear or the reality of Y2K. GaryNorth has speculated that the genuine fears arising in this area may have at least the one spin-off benefit of putting paid to software (or other kinds of) WorldDomination fears for a very long time.

This is a long and I'm afraid quite serious preamble to the following comment on KentBeck's aside in NonlinearityOfXp that he doesn't want WorldDomination through XP:

Pilate asked him: "Are you a king, then?" Jesus answered: "..I came into the world .. to speak the truth. Whoever belongs to the truth listens to me."

Only in this case, it's not just a metaphor. --RichardDrake

"Don't think about domination, think about freedom, it doesn't dominate." -- RichardStallman, LinuxWorld? 1999.

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