A magazine about programmers, code, and society. Written by humans since 2018.

Issue 022: The Cloud

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Issue 022: 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.

Somebody Else's Computer As A Service

On November 12, 1990, a 35 year-old Bill Gates introduced his “Information at your Fingertips” concept during his keynote at COMDEX. The PC, he said, would become “more personal,” integrating “fax, voice and electronic mail,” and providing “easy access to a broad range of information.” More or less at the same time, Tim Berners-Lee was giving the final touches to the first web browser and web server software ever put in production. Bill Gates was right; as any Internet user can easily confirm 30 years later, PCs become much more interesting when you connect them to other computers. Or, as they call it, “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.

Brian Kernighan

Of all the articles I have written in this “Library” section, this has been by far the most difficult to write of them all. It is extremely hard to summarize in a thousand words the major achievements of a person that has defined the way our modern world and our industry work, in the most unfathomable ways.

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