• Issue #22: The Cloud

    Issue #22: The Cloud

    Welcome to the twenty-second issue of De Programmatica Ipsum, dedicated to the subject of The Cloud. In this edition, Adrian argues that the PC was an accident in history, stuck between two chapters of the same story; Graham explains how the self-fulfilling (and mythical) prophecy of a "world market of 5 computers at most" has become true; and in the Library section, Adrian will talk about three major books written by Brian Kernighan.

  • Issue #22: The Cloud

    Five Computers

    There is no direct evidence that Thomas Watson, Sr. predicted in 1943 that there would be “a world market for five computers”. First, he probably didn’t know about computers back then: in the 1940s computers were classified research projects at the UK Government Code and Cipher School and the US Army, while Watson’s IBM were famously involved with the other side during the war. Second, it’s just not something there’s evidence of him talking about. When IBM presented plans for their early commercial computers to various businesses, they got about ten immediate sign-ups and as many expressions of interest. That’s already a market for twenty computers. Various people in government…

  • Issue #21: Open Source

    Once The Rockets Go Up, Who Cares Where They Come Down?

    Somehow, I have yet to come down with COVID-19 (as an asthmatic I'm not expecting it to end well). One of my last big gatherings before the travel bans and lockdowns were enacted was at FOSDEM in Brussels, a chance for nearly 10,000 people in the supra-European software community to get sick. I'm in my element at FOSDEM, as I'm one of those irritating people who makes a distinction between "Open Source" and "Free Software", and uses the terms in different contexts.

  • Issue #21: Open Source,  Library

    The Community

    It would of course be easy to single out authors who have made important contributions to the world of Free, Libre and Open Source Software for this month's Library article. I'm sure we'll address their work in later issues. One of the most important reasons for the success of Free Software is its collaborative nature so this month we'll acknowledge the community effort to document open source software.