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Ask HN: What’s the most important software in the world?
15 points by reducesuffering 7 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 28 comments
Currently and in the future





The one running my son’s insulin pump.

You're making the point here. It's the software that makes our lives significantly better, which is the most important one.

However, as software is everywhere, the original question is the same thing as "what physical invention" is the most important one?

From one standpoint this could be something like the wheel or electrical light, i.e. Bios, compiler or a network stack in the software world. Or, something way more personal, like health care related software for the loved ones or some more profane stuff.

To make the question even less tangible, software in general can be replaced more easily than physical things, most of the time.


The most important software I've seen is Excel. Almost every new application I see is trying to replace excel in some domain or the other.

+1. And I think most of the software that try to replace it somehow fails.

The Perl on nuclear warheads that aren't exploding.

http://www.foo.be/docs/tpj/issues/vol2_1/tpj0201-0004.html


*nix based operating systems.

Leaving highly classified and for whom kinda questions aside, I must say it's the software that the good guys SWIFT (http://swift.com) use to run the global financial network.

The SWIFT Network has no real alternatives and entire countries teeter towards bankruptcies when they're banned from using it.

The last time the US banned Iran, Iran reportedly lost $100M; everyday!

[Edit] Spellings and URL


Probably that is why big economies are after crypto networks. Ripple is a close alternative for the SWIFT network.

It sounds like software that important shouldn't be something that any particular country should be in control of (as much as I like to stop the leadership of Iran).

You have obviously never tried to decipher a swift message or been forced to read the ‘handbook’

The TCP/IP stack in the BSD everybody copied from around the time win 95 was being developed.

Whatever "Operations Plan 8044" is supported by / implemented in:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_weapons_of_the_United_...


highly classified stuff, but in its day likely a FORTRAN implementation, the OPLAN is not simply a computer program but is a heuristic of human operations that is modified depending on current intelligence briefs, and asset deployment and distribution. The ARPANET [DARPANET] was a major part of this.

The relational database.

in my opinion the most important software is actually firmware, that means the BIOS

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BIOS

the successor UEFI im not so happy about but it can be tamed, it seems to be a binary blob thin edge of wedged between the firmware and the OS.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unified_Extensible_Firmware_In...


I’m not by any means an Android fan, but I have to admit that AOSP has done more to make computing accessible to almost everyone in the world than any other platform.

I had a teach who once was reviewing the history of computing. She explained how time sharing was invented in the 1960s. The ability for a computer to do more than one thing at a time, was a HUGE improvement.

Any network protocol implementation.

I’d go for software running power stations. Without power we’re fucked.

The Linux kernel

For whom?

In the future ,General task automation and artificial common sense

Online Banking

Whatever sewage is running electronic voting machines and vote tabulators.

Web servers.

Bios

GIT

Facebook and gmail and Google search are the most important softwares.



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