What I am suggesting is that disks came about because of limited RAM. Now that RAM limitations can be of increasing greater size, we should explore new freedoms. What follows may seem a little far-fetched, but may also be just around the corner.
First, we may take it that a one megabyte RAM is not likely to be filled with a BASIC or machine code program of anything near that length. The debugging alone would take too long! This leaves us with other possibilities.
We could fill a lot of the RAM with a wide range of programs, and call up any of the whole suite, instantaneously, from a special menu program.
We could have as many programming aids in our machine as we could conceivably wish for, and barely scratch the surface of our new-found capacity.
We could have a vast range of help screens available for instantaneous recall when in trouble.
We could call in a whole succession of high resolution pictures, which are usually slow to load from disk, so rapidly that even animation would be possible.
We could have split processing in one machine. After all, it is common for two processors to be in one machine, so why not a schizoid machine with each part operating independently?
We could have a really enormous amount of text in our word processor at any one time, and have many different text areas. Our word processor could perhaps interact with our accounting and data base programs in RAM.
Accounting suites of programs could be truly integrated, so that final accounts are updated after every transaction.
Hmm … sounds a lot like Microsoft Windows.
Or a smart phone for that matter.
I should note that this was written in 1983, when 512K went for $550.00 (cheapest price I could find—today that would be anywhere from $1,080.00 to $2,350.00, depending on how you calculate inflation) and there were no personal computers that could hold more than a megabyte of memory (which would shortly change over the next few years).
Oh, and this comment from Flutterby is priceless:
With modern machines having gigabytes of RAM, one can only assume that debugging has been completely abandoned … and assumption that gets validated every time Scrabble crashes on my Android phone.