[I want] minimum information given with maximum politeness.
Jacqueline Kennedy would likely be disappointed nowadays in her preference for receiving "minimum information." Information is proliferating wildly, and software is partly to blame. And sometimes the presentation of this vast information is none too polite, but hopefully this book is an exception.
The software industry has become crucial to the global economy. It is a large and rapidly growing industry in its own right, and its secondary impact on the remainder of the economy is disproportionate. In light of this, the software industry deserves much focus and attention by nontechnical professionals in fields such as management, economics, policy, and law. Obstacles to understanding include the often arcane and inaccessible nature of software technology, and a lack of visibility into the internal workings of the software industry and software in its context of uses. Individual productivity and Internet applications are familiar to us all, but the important role that software plays in organizations of all types is less visible though arguably far more influential. Controversial policy issues surrounding copyright enforcement and access to pornography by children are highly visible, but the public debate rarely takes adequate account of the opportunities and challenges afforded by the ubiquitous, embedded nature of today's software technologies.
This book seeks to explain to a broad technical and nontechnical audience the characteristics of software technology and of the business of software creation, and the context within which software is deployed, operated, and used. Given the growing importance of software and the rapid changes occurring in how it is developed, sold, and used, this is an opportune time for a comprehensive examination of the many facets of software.