RS232 is, in many ways, a living fossil. While the relatively low data rates don't qualify the protocol as a high-speed communication interface, it's robustness and ease of implementation nevertheless make it attractive.
One of Dallas Maxim's absolute evergreens is the MAX232- a nifty transceiver IC which makes use of a capacitor based voltage boosting circuit to generate the voltage levels needed for fullly protocol compliant RS232 communication.
Having a second source makes evergreens even more popular. Texas Instruments is an international semiconductor powerhouse, and has been offering a second source alternative for quite some time. If you ever need to perform a fully protocol compliant RS232 communication and don't have access to the needed voltage levels, don't burden your design with complex boost regulators.
Instead, do it like the elders have done - a MAX232, a few capacitors, and have a happy day. The part is available in a DIP housing: convenient for small scale production and prototyping.