Quality software is made by artists, not engineers or programmers. But software is unlike other fields of art, because it needs to be superbly functional in addition to aesthetically pleasing.

I have found that there are two types of quality software: GUI software and UNIX software. Quality GUI software is beautiful to look at, as well as a joy to use. Quality UNIX is beautiful to comprehend, as well as a joy to work with.

GUI Software Artists

While all of their products have some faults, these designers do some of the best work I've seen.

UNIX Software Artists

Unquestionably the best UNIX software artist ever, his work repays careful study. Not only is it secure and amazingly functional, but it is also well-designed so that it feels like a masterpiece of art in addition to a piece of software.

I have noticed that those who like Professor Bernstein's software are quite often very intelligent. The inverse is not always true: while many people who don't like Bernstein's software are not particularly intelligent, some are merely misguided.

It is a continuing frustration to me that Professor Bernstein has no peer in software design. It would be great to have a culture of innovative quality UNIX software. Currently, it seems all quality UNIX software is, to some degree, emulation:

@@Other candidates: David McCusker, Rael Dornfest.

@@Scholars: me, Matt Webb, Mike Gancarz(?), guy who wrote bstj article, who else?

Eric S. Raymond is writing a book on the Unix philosophy but it looks like he's getting everything wrong.

I am interested in hearing about other quality software artists. Please send your suggestions.