Software should probably be seen as merely a collection of bits and bytes – ones or zeros, or on/off states. We use our imagination and tools to bundle these bits and bytes into executables – and then some magic occurs in human-computer interaction that lets us perceive software as an entity, name it, interact with it – even impose personality on it. A magic of the mind, perhaps. I guess the emotional, imaginative aspects of this process to some extent explains the pseudo-religious nature of some users' belief in or attachment to specific software. (Hello, Mac-vs-PC or closed-vs-open-source holy wars).
In short: We imbue software with more personality than we are really aware of.
So with today's switch to WebKit announcement it's public knowledge that Opera's current rendering engine will be phased out. Its software personality was one of surprising brilliance combined with equally surprising shortcomings. It was resourceful, forward-looking and often ahead of its time yet at other times neglectful of even long-stated needs and requirements. It had some hissy fits and temperamental interaction with other software, especially certain plug-ins. Nevertheless it carried out great work and brought the company that cared for it 300 million users, over the years being ported to an incredible number of platforms.
Today it's clear that the Presto personality is singing its final aria in this Opera, it will slowly be leaving the stage, and I'm fairly sure everyone who worked with it over the years will be a little emotional about that.
Even though we know it's just some bits and bytes.