Ars on your lunch break: Tim O‘Reilly discusses the birth of “open source”August 1, 2018
Below, you’ll find the second installment of the After On interview with legendary tech publisher and prognosticator Tim O’Reilly. Please check out part one if you missed it. Otherwise, press play on the embedded player, or pull up the transcript—both of which are below.
O’Reilly and I start off today talking about The Whole Internet User’s Guide & Catalog, which he published in 1992. And yup—that’s a two at the end of that number. As in, a full year before the first release of the Mosaic browser. Of course, there was a World Wide Web before Mosaic—and all 200 of its sites are listed in this book (along with various non-WWW Internet stuff that was around back then).
Jumping forward many years, O’Reilly tells us about convening a small summit of tech honchos, which quite literally named open source software. The nameless-ish phenomenon was already a big deal by then and was destined to become a huge one. But names do matter (and their lack even more so). The summit’s real purpose was to stridently promote this new approach to code to the both industry and the press in hopes of terminating the suffocating reign of Microsoft and others.