Iceland by Ivar Jacobson

September 29, 2003

Today, I am in Iceland for the first time. I have always wanted to go to Iceland. This is the country where people today speak a language that has changed very little in 1000 years. At that time our ancestors in Sweden, Norway and Denmark spoke a language more similar to Icelandic of today than to our modern languages. And, most amazing, I didn't understand much.

The reason I came here is that I just gave a talk at a WebSphere user conference. Unfortunately, I can only stay for a very short time. I arrived at 4 pm yesterday from Bonn in Germany and I leave at 1 pm today for Stuttgart - also in Germany. Since it takes about eight hours to get from Germany to Iceland, this nothing less than crazy! I have had a very interesting discussion with some key people. We all agree that software is becoming harder and harder to use - for many reasons. How are we going to change this trend in a dramatic way? Those of you who have followed my work the last couple of years know where I am heading. I believe we need to take a magnum leap. Basically, today all software is passive. The user needs to take initiatives and step by step tell the software what to do. I think that this needs to change for many reasons. Software gets too many features that most people don't know how to use. For instance, how many of the features in a mobile phone do you know how to use? Twenty percent? I believe we need to change this. I believe the trend needs to go from passive software to active software. By active software, I mean software that can help the user to use it - in many different ways. Our WayPointer is such a tool to help people use RUP, Rose or XDE. It makes RUP active. And WayPointer is just the beginning of a trend that will encompass all software.