One of One Software

I would guess that a significant amount of software is written for one person and we should celebrate it more.

Most software engineers tend to write for other people. They hope to create a popular open source library. They’re working on their startup idea. Maybe it’s a matter of industry norms i.e. pretending that the next engineer reading your code is an axe-wielding murderer.

Why not write one of one software? Written just for you, to do exactly what you want, without consideration for someone else. What if we didn’t place such a high premium on popularity and scale?

I imagine there are many other kinds of software that would be created that aren’t today. It would more fulsome and go deeper into the problem instead of a shallower Pareto optimal of building for other people. It would be limited by the author’s time and ability so the shape of it might look very different—a greater emphasis on combining things that already exist and smaller in scope.

What are some examples of one-of-one software you’ve written?

See also:

  • A simple example is my Emacs config which is a thousand lines of code that will only ever be executed on my CPU