32 episodes

Hear the epic true tales of how developers, programmers, hackers, geeks, and open source rebels are revolutionizing the technology landscape. Command Line Heroes is an award-winning podcast hosted by Saron Yitbarek and produced by Red Hat. Get root access to show notes, transcripts, and other associated content at https://redhat.com/commandlineheroes

Command Line Heroes Red Hat

    • Technology

Hear the epic true tales of how developers, programmers, hackers, geeks, and open source rebels are revolutionizing the technology landscape. Command Line Heroes is an award-winning podcast hosted by Saron Yitbarek and produced by Red Hat. Get root access to show notes, transcripts, and other associated content at https://redhat.com/commandlineheroes

    BONUS: Mainframes

    BONUS: Mainframes

    In the 1960s, Dartmouth saw the GE 225 as a massive opportunity for its students. Hear how a few faculty members and students made the mainframe widely accessible.

    • 6 min
    Mainframes: The GE 225 and the Birth of BASIC

    Mainframes: The GE 225 and the Birth of BASIC

    The computing industry started booming after World War II. General Electric’s CEO refused to enter that market. But a small team of rebel employees bent the rules to forge on in secret. They created the GE 225. It was a giant leap in engineering that pushed computing from a niche market to the mainstream—sowing the seeds for today’s tech industry.

    Before the creation of general-purpose mainframes, computers were often built to perform a single function. William Ocasio recalls how GE’s first specialized computers, the ERMA, helped banks process thousands of transactions per day. John Joseph recounts how a few key GE employees hoodwinked their CEO into creating a computing department. Tomas Kellner explains how their work resulted in a revolutionary machine—the GE 225. And Joy Lisi Rankin describes how engineers at Dartmouth College adapted the GE 225 for time-sharing and used it to create BASIC—major milestones in making computing more accessible.

    • 30 min
    BONUS: Minicomputers

    BONUS: Minicomputers

    The Soul of a New Machine is a bestselling book that almost wasn’t. Hear about the obstacles author Tracy Kidder had to overcome in order to bring his engineering classic to life.

    • 5 min
    Minicomputers: The Soul of an Old Machine

    Minicomputers: The Soul of an Old Machine

    They don’t fit in your pocket. But in their day, minicomputers were an order of magnitude smaller than the room-sized mainframes that preceded them. And they paved the way for the personal computers that could fit in a bag and, eventually, the phones in your pocket.

    16-bit minicomputers changed the world of IT in the 1970s. They gave companies the opportunity for each engineer to have their own machines. But it wasn’t quite enough, not until the arrival of 32-bit versions.

    Carl Alsing and Jim Guyer recount their work at Data General to create a revolutionary new 32-bit machine. But their now-legendary work was done in secret. Codenamed “Eagle,” their machine was designed to compete with one being built by another team in their own company. These engineers recall the corporate politics and intrigue required to keep the project going—and how they turned restrictions into advantages. Neal Firth discusses life on an exciting-but-demanding project. One where the heroes worked together because they wanted to, without expectations of awards or fame. And all three discuss how this story was immortalized in the non-fiction engineering classic, The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder.

    • 29 min
    Introducing Season 4 of Command Line Heroes

    Introducing Season 4 of Command Line Heroes

    No one ever said hardware was easy. In Season 4, Command Line Heroes is telling 7 special stories about people and teams who dared to change the rules of hardware and in the process changed how we all interact with technology.

    The first episode drops January 28, 2020. Subscribe today and sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates and bonus content.

    • 2 min
    The C Change

    The C Change

    C and UNIX are at the root of modern computing. Many of the languages we’ve covered this season are related to or at least influenced by C. But C and UNIX only happened because a few developers at Bell Labs created both as a skunkworks project.

    Bell Labs was a mid-twentieth century center for innovation. Jon Gertner describes it as an “idea factory.” One of their biggest projects in the 1960s was helping build a time-sharing operating system called Multics. Dr. Joy Lisi Rankin explains the hype around time-sharing at the time—it was described as potentially making computing accessible as a public utility. Large teams devoted years of effort to build Multics—and it wasn’t what they had hoped for. Bell Labs officially moved away from time-sharing in 1969. But as Andrew Tanenbaum recounts, a small team of heroes pushed on anyways. C and UNIX were the result. Little did they know how much their work would shape the course of technology.

    • 25 min

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