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The Birth of Unix with Brian Kernighan

When you work on your computer, there are so many things you take for granted: operating systems, programming languages, they all have to come from somewhere.

In the late 1960s and 1970s, that somewhere was Bell Labs, and the operating system they were building was UNIX.

They were building more than just an operating system though. They were building a way to work with computers that had never existed before. 

In today’s episode I talk to Brian Kernighan about the history of Unix.

Podcast Transcript

“If you wanted, you could go sit in your office and think deep thoughts or program, or write on your own blackboard or whatever, but then come back to the common space when you wanted to.“ – Brian Kernighan

“I found it easier to program when I was trying to figure out the logic for myself rather than trying to figure out where in the infinite stack of documentation was the function I needed. So for me, programming is more like creating something rather than looking it up, and too much of today’s programming is more like looking it up.” – Brian Kernighan

“If what I find challenging or hard or whatever is also something that other people find hard or challenging or whatever, then if I do something that will improve my lot, I’m perhaps improving their lot at the same time.” – Brian Kernighan

Links:

Brian’s Homepage

Book: Unix: A History and a Memoir

The Birth of Unix with Brian Kernighan