Here’s a question Paul Ford poses, and of course, attempts to answer in The Great Works of Software:
Is it possible to propose a software canon? To enumerate great works of software that are deeply influential—that changed the nature of the code that followed?
The list he comes up with is very solid. I feel like relational databases should also be represented — but it’s hard to pick one product. Should it be Oracle? It’s the first commercial relational database, and is still going strong. Maybe MySQL? They put relational databases in the hands of the masses.
It’s an interesting question to think about.