Rob Pike on the state of Unix March 5, 2007Posted by sdpurtill in Google, Technology.
Rob Pike is a Google Research Scientist. He was on the team that built the original Unix OS in the 1970’s. Now he works on their server operating system, which serve the fastest pages in the world. I just read through the presentation (pdf) that he gave in celebration of the 1 billionth second on the Unix clock. These two parts of the presentation really stood out to me:
The success of PCs is in large part due to the fact that, by making all hardware equivalent, good software enabled bad hardware.
1. What is the best thing about Unix?
A: The community.
2. What is the worst thing about Unix?
A: That there are so many communities.
I loved reading through that presentation, because Rob was able to identify and admit that they made mistakes in building Unix. Most people are unable to come to terms with their mistakes, especially in such a large project as this one. People are always shifting the blame to other people who weren’t “as smart” as them. Even though I am a hardcore Capitalist, I really like the personalities of these Open Source guys. Not only are they open with their code, but they are open about their mistakes. A company like Microsoft or Apple would try to brush these mistakes under the table as fast as someone could identify them (and for MS, that happens… daily…).
He even states in the presentation that the reason Microsoft beat them was because there is only one Microsoft. There is a ridiculous amount of Unix variants available these days, and 37signals is so right:
Less is more.
And I am officially SWITCHING TO MAC!! I will be getting my MB Pro within the next 2 months. I am fed up with Windows, but that will be another very long blog post.