February 21, 2008
Follow me on Twitter

NeoVictorian Notes

Jason Kottke and Scott Rosenberg each mention NeoVictorian Computing.

Several people have emailed me to ask, "what programs do you mean, specifically?" This is a tricky question, of course, because software (like other works of art) carries with it a complex of circumstances and associations. Worse, there's no software canon, no body of work with which we can assume most people are familiar.

One hint, though: famous software that is intensely associated with its specific creator often (not always) has a strong NeoVictorian flavor. Reviewing the bidding, by "NeoVictorian" I mean systems that are:

If we ask, "what inspired systems were clearly built by individual people in small workshops”, some things that leap to mind are aspects of Stallman's EMACS, Iverson’s APL, Atkinson’s MacPaint, Marshall's VIKI, Engelbart's Augment, Berners-Lee's World Wide Web, Kapor's Agenda, Bricklin’s VisiCalc, Cunningham's Wiki, Herzfeld and Horn’s Finder, Crowther and Woods' Adventure. (I'm sticking to software that's ten or twenty years old, in part because I don't want to get into fights. The list is just a start. Your mileage may vary. Ideas matter: emacs vs. vi doesn't.)