So what has this got to do with GIS? Well the two most popular desktop GIS solutions came about through the availability of a new medium: the personal computer. The first versions of MapInfo and Arc Info for the personal computer worked with the limitations of that software to produce very functional solutions for anyone wanting to work with location based problems. The code that was used to produce those early versions would have been Latin like in its creation. Every line would have to achieve its stated aim with nothing included that didn't justify its inclusion.
Fast forward more than 25 years and we now have multiple methods of accessing GIS software and multiple operating systems which GIS software now supports. Programmers can now write code without worrying as much about memory allocation or disk storage although these can still be a cause of difficulty as operating systems demand more memory than ever before.
With so much power, speed and functionality in our hardware and software we can expect significant developments in our software applications over the next few years. This should mean that GIS becomes more accessible and easier to use. Unfortunately whilst general proprietary office software like word processing, spreadsheets and database applications are now financially within anyone's reach proprietary GIS software is still relatively expensive. This makes GIS software, from the main proprietary suppliers, out of reach for general applications within a large proportion of the SME marketplace. Over time this must change. In the meantime, open source applications such as Quantum GIS will meet this segment of the marketplace and enable even the smallest business operation to gain access to the power of a real GIS software solution.