In the Beginning… Was the Command Line – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
In the Beginning… Was the Command Line is an essay by Neal Stephenson which was originally published online in 1999 and later made available in book form (November 1999, ISBN 0-380-81593-1). The essay is a commentary on why the proprietary operating systems business is unlikely to remain profitable in the future because of competition from free software. It also analyzes the corporate/collective culture of the Microsoft, Macintosh, and free software communities.
Stephenson explores the GUI as a metaphor in terms of the increasing interposition of abstractions between humans and the actual workings of devices (in a similar manner to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance) and explains the beauty hackers feel in good-quality tools. He does this with a car analogy. He compares four operating systems, Mac OS by Apple Computer to a luxury European car, Windows by Microsoft to a station wagon, Linux to a free tank, and BeOS to abatmobile. Stephenson argues that people continue to buy the station wagon despite free tanks being given away, because people do not want to learn how to operate a tank; they know that the station wagon dealership has a machine shop that they can take their car to when it breaks down. Because of this attitude, Stephenson argues that Microsoft is not really a monopoly, as evidenced by the free availability of other choice OSes, but rather has simply accrued enough mindshare among the people to have them coming back. He compares Microsoft to Disney, in that both are selling a vision to their customers, who in turn “want to believe” in that vision.
Stephenson relays his experience with the Debian bug tracking system (#6518). He then contrasts it with Microsoft’s approach. Debian developers responded from around the world within a day. He was completely frustrated with his initial attempt to achieve the same response from Microsoft, but he concedes that his subsequent experience was satisfactory. The difference he notes is that Debian developers are personally accessible and transparently own up to defects in their OS distribution, while Microsoft “makes no bones about the existence of errors.”
The best analogy I’ve heard about the structure of content on today’s internet goes like this:
Imagine a big port.
That port’s all yours, it’s where all of the things you consume come in to dock. Now, you could hop in your little sailboat and visit all of the island sites you want content from, but that wouldn’t be very convenient. You could visit the maiden isle of The Verge or the continent of CNN.
But no, there’s no time for that. You can have your content delivered.
Well, content platforms like WordPress, Blogger, Medium, and YouTube bring in ships to your port. But that won’t do either — those ships bring in a lot of content but it’s not worth checking each ship individually.
What you need is a monster ship to carry all of the content mediums.
More than that, you need an excellent crew on board that monster ship to sort through the containers of content and pick out the worthwhile bits. That’s what services like Facebook and Google+ try to be — giant transport ships that let you choose your own crew.
via Friends Don’t Let Friends Curate FB’s Redesign — Future Tech/Future Market — Medium.
The W3C mission is to lead the World Wide Web to its full potential by developing protocols and guidelines that ensure the long-term growth of the Web. Below we discuss important aspects of this mission, all of which further W3C’s vision of One Web.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community that develops openstandards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web.
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
W3C maintains an internationally distributed network of servers and services that support Public, Member, and Team audiences in pursuit of the Consortium’s technical and social objectives.
via W3C Systems Team’s Blog.
The Ship of Theseus, also known as Theseus’ paradox, or various variants, notably grandfather’s axe and (in the UK) Trigger’s Broom (based upon the BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses) is a paradox that raises the question of whether an object which has had all its component parts replaced remains fundamentally the same object.
The paradox is most notably recorded by Plutarch in Life of Theseus from the late 1st century. Plutarch asked whether a ship which was restored by replacing all its wooden parts remained the same ship.
The paradox had been discussed by more ancient philosophers such as Heraclitus, Socrates, and Plato prior to Plutarch’s writings; and more recently by Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. This problem is “a model for the philosophers”; some say “it remained the same, some saying it did not remain the same”
via Ship of Theseus – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
The term “computer”, in use from the mid 17th century, meant “one who computes”: a person performing mathematical calculations, before electronic computers became commercially available.
via Human computer – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.