Thursday, April 02, 2020

Podcast: If Linux didn't exist, would we have had to invent it?

I've been working on a multi-part podcast series that considers the question "Was open source inevitable?" through interviews with many industry experts. The series will be produced/edited as opposed to just straight-through interviews. However, in the course of talking with people and doing research, I got into a bit of a debate with Bryan Cantrill and Steven Vaughan-Nichols on Twitter.

I've known both of them for ages. Bryan Cantrill is a co-founder of Oxide Computer and a longtime employee of Sun Microsystems where he was, among other things, responsible for creating Dtrace in Solaris. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, aka sjvn, has been writing about technology and the business of technology since CP/M-80 was the cutting edge and is a contributing editor at CBS Interactive. They agreed to hop on a call together and debate the question posed in the title. Consider this a teaser for the upcoming series.

Bryan's take is that the general arc of open source operating systems was more or less inevitable. Steven's not so sure and sees Linux as a very important ingredient in the software mix associated with the early days of the commercial Internet—without which things would have played out differently.

I mostly stayed out of their way. Listen to their spirited debate about Linux, Perl, the LAMP stack, and more.

Listen to the podcast [MP3 - 36:30]