13.4. A Major Role for Software

Today people may think about their personal computers primarily in terms of the capabilities of installed software. Yet until recently, the tangible computer hardware would get not only most of the credit for achievements in the computer industry, but also the blame for some deficiencies that justifiably could have been directed toward the less tangible software. The vital compiler technology that produces software remains obscure to all but those people familiar with the process of developing applications and system software.

Recognition of the essential role of software to make computing hardware truly useful can be traced back at least into the nineteenth century, when Augusta Ada Lovelace (1815–1852) famously ...

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