24Chapter 1The Big Picture“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”—Ken Olson, president, chairman, and founder of Digital EquipmentCorp., 1977.“I predict the Internet ... will go spectacularly supernova and in 1996catastrophically collapse.”—Bob Metcalfe, 3Com founder and inventor,1995.1.3Computing as a Tool and a DisciplineIn the previous section on the history of computer software, we pointedout the ever-changing role of the user. At the end of the first generation,the user split into two groups: the systems programmer who developedtools to make programming easier and the applications programmer whoused the tools. Later applications programmers built large domain-specificprograms such as statistical packages, word processors, spreadsheets, intel-ligent browsers, virtual environments, and medical diagnosis applicationson top of the traditional language tools. These application programs werein turn used by practitioners with no computer background.
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