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Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.
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Matt Asay infoworld.com

How open source changed everything — again

While many of us writing our year-end wrap-ups, Matt Asay saunters into the room, kindly requests that we “hold his beer”, and proceeds to write his decade-end wrap-up.

We’re about to conclude another decade of open source, and what a long, strange trip it has been. Reading back through predictions made in 2009, no one had the foggiest clue that GitHub would change software development forever (and for everyone), or that Microsoft would go from open source pariah to the world’s largest contributor, or a host of other dramatic changes that became the new normal during a decade that was anything but normal.

We are all open sourcerors now as we round out the decade. Let’s look back at some of the most significant open source innovations that got us here.

Cory Doctorow EFF

alt.interoperability.adversarial

Cory Doctorow goes deep into Usenet’s history and uncovers a sage decision by the “backbone cabal” which may help us improve the web’s (currently centralized) state:

Restoring adversarial interoperability will allow future companies, co-operatives and tinkerers to go beyond the comfort zones of the winners of the previous rounds of the game – so that it ceases to be a winner-take-all affair, and instead becomes the kind of dynamic place where a backbone cabal can have total control one year, and be sidelined the next.

Jerod Santo changelog.com/posts

5 things Rob Pike attributes Go's success to

As the saying goes… history doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.

If you want to create a successful programming language (or at least understand how you might), it’s immensely valuable to learn from others who have done just that. on Go Time episode #100, two of Go’s creators (Rob Pike and Robert Griesemer) sat down to discuss the language’s success. Here’s 5 things they attribute to its success.

The Changelog The Changelog #367

Back to Agile's basics

Robert C. Martin, aka Uncle Bob, joined the show to talk about the practices of Agile. Bob has written a series of books in order to pass down the wisdom he’s gained over his 50 year software career — books like Clean Architecture, Clean Code, The Clean Coder, The Software Craftsman, and finally Clean Agile — which is the focus of today’s discussion. We cover the origins of his “Uncle Bob” nickname, the Agile Manifesto, why Agile is best suited for developing software, how it applies today, communication patterns for teams, co-location vs distributed, and more importantly Bob shares his “why” for writing this book.

History slate.com

36 world-changing pieces of code

Nice piece by Slate:

To shed light on the software that has tilted the world on its axis, the editors polled computer scientists, software developers, historians, policymakers, and journalists. They were asked to pick: Which pieces of code had a huge influence? Which ones warped our lives? About 75 responded with all sorts of ideas, and Slate has selected 36.

History github.com

Source code for the command and lunar modules of Apollo 11 🌔

Original Apollo 11 guidance computer (AGC) source code for Command Module (Comanche055) and Lunar Module (Luminary099). Digitized by the folks at Virtual AGC and MIT Museum. The goal is to be a repo for the original Apollo 11 source code. As such, PRs are welcome for any issues identified between the transcriptions in this repository and the original source scans for Luminary 099 and Comanche 055, as well as any files I may have missed.

A nice bit of history to peruse in honor of the flight’s recent 50th anniversary. 100% Assembly tho 😱

Opensource.com Icon Opensource.com

What is POSIX? Richard Stallman explains

It’s great to read RMS and other GNU developer’s perspective on how we got past the UNIX days. I’m particularly interested in a conversation around this statement from the author:

Open source discourse typically encourages certain practices for the sake of practical advantages, not as a moral imperative.

I’m fascinated by the different perspectives. There’s one where F/OSS is a human right, and another where it’s a business opportunity. They’re not mutually exclusive, but which is more prevalent these days?

My thought is that we wouldn’t be where we are today if the former didn’t dominate in the ‘90s, but we’re significantly more capitalistic with our OSS these days.

What’s your take on it?

Culture cs.utexas.edu

The humble programmer

E.W. Dijkstra, in an ACM lecture he delivered almost 50 years ago:

… the computer, by virtue of its fantastic speed, seems to be the first to provide us with an environment where highly hierarchical artifacts are both possible and necessary. This challenge, viz. the confrontation with the programming task, is so unique that this novel experience can teach us a lot about ourselves. It should deepen our understanding of the processes of design and creation, it should give us better control over the task of organizing our thoughts. If it did not do so, to my taste we should not deserve the computer at all!

A fantastic read that was recommended to me by Andy Hunt during a conversation that you’ll be hearing on The Changelog real soon. I took his recommendation and now I’m passing it on.

The New Stack Icon The New Stack

Rust creator Graydon Hoare talks about security, history, and Rust

It’s hard to believe it’s already been 9 years since Rust was first announced to the world. The New Stack has a nice interview with Graydon Hoare

sharing his thoughts on everything from the state of systems programming, to the difficulty of defining safety on ever-more complex systems — and whether we’re truly more secure today, or confronting an inherited software mess that will take decades to clean up.

InfoQ Icon InfoQ

A tribute to Joe Armstrong

Following the sad news about Joe Armstrong passing away, some of his former colleagues from Ericsson wrote a good-bye note and asked if InfoQ would publish it.

Joe has been on my shortlist of people to invite on The Changelog for a long time, but I never got around to contacting him. Regretful. This is a touching tribute. I especially enjoyed this bit:

Nobody could avoid being affected by Joe’s good mood and boundless enthusiasm. He was highly appreciated as a speaker and panel member at many international conferences. Many programmers can testify to just how important Joe has been for them in developing their profession.

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