As I’m sure you are all aware from the avalanche of media attention, Steve Jobs passed away on the 5th October 2011, after stepping down from his role as CEO of Apple in August; he was 56 years old.
There have been numerous extensive obituaries for Jobs, who is widely regarded as one of the most visionary and disruptive technologists the world has seen. Whether or not you appreciate the products he designed, or the socio-technical philosophy he promulgated, it is hard to deny the impact he has had on commercial computing and how we use technology.
While much of the media focus has been on his achievements during his second spell as Apple’s CEO, I think his contributions in the late 1970s (with Steve Wozniak) and 1980s are of more significance to modern computing; for example, the Apple II, the Apple Lisa, the Macintosh, NeXT and Pixar. (N.B. if you interested in the history of modern computing, especially in the 1980s, I highly recommend Steven Levy‘s book Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution)
With the notoriously outspoken free software pioneer Richard Stallman being quick to offer his opinion on Jobs’ death (which was widely regarded as being in poor taste), there have also been a number of interesting discussions critically analysing Jobs’ and Apple’s wider impact on technology and society. Nevertheless, I still think we need people who Think Different:
Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people.
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)