Here is a list, no doubt partial, of some of the products Steve Jobs helped put into the world: the Apple II, the Macintosh desktop, the Mac laptop, the iPhone, the iPod, the iPad, iTunes and legal downloads of music by the Beatles.
His influence was huge even if you've never used an Apple product. Ever used a Windows computer? Jobs popularized and commercialized the graphical user interface, making it possible for ordinary people to use a computer by clicking on icons with a mouse.
I learned about Jobs' death when I turned on my Linux laptop computer at home Wednesday night. It's a different machine from the Macintosh I use at work, but it has a GNOME desktop that's not terribly different from the one on my Mac. No doubt it's also no coincidence that the Spotify program and the open source MP3 player on my Linux Mint laptop look an awful lot like iTunes.
Twitter was so overwhelmed with messages about the Apple icon's death last night that it took me several minutes to log on — a fitting tribute to Jobs' stature. My favorite Tweet came from Julian Sanchez, @normative: "I felt a great disturbance in the force... as though millions of iPhones suddenly cried out... and were suddenly silenced."
John Markoff's obituary in the New York Times usefully chronicles some of Jobs' achievements.