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Command Line Heroes

Command Line Heroes

Author: Red Hat

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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
28 Episodes
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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.
The C Change

The C Change

2019-10-0100:25:4316

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.That's all for Season 3. If you want to dive deeper into C and UNIX, you can check out all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. You’ll find extra content for every episode. Follow along with the episode transcript. Subscribe to the newsletter for more stories and to be among the first to see announcements about the podcast. See you soon for Season 4.
Creating a machine that thinks may have seemed like science fiction in the 1950s. But John McCarthy decided to make it a reality. And he started with a language he called LISP. Colin Garvey describes how McCarthy created the first language for AI. Sam Williams covers how early interest in thinking machines spread from academia to the business world, and how—after certain projects didn’t deliver on their promises—a long AI winter eventually set in. Ulrich Drepper explains that the dreams of AI went beyond what the hardware could deliver at the time.But hardware gets more powerful each and every day. Chris Nicholson points out that today’s machines have enough processing power to handle the resource requirements of AI—so much so that we’re in the middle of a revolutionary resurgence in AI research and development. Finally, Rachel Thomas identifies the languages of AI beyond LISP—evidence of the different kinds of tasks AI is now being prepared to do.If you want to dive deeper into LISP and the origins of artificial intelligence, you can check out all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. You’ll find extra content for every episode.Follow along with the episode transcript.
Heroes in a Bash Shell

Heroes in a Bash Shell

2019-09-0300:27:3419

Shells make large-scale IT possible. They’re a necessary component to modern computing. But it might not have turned out that way without a lot of hard work from a developer at the Free Software Foundation named Brian Fox. Now, the Bash shell is shipped with almost every computer in the world. In the ‘70s, Bell Labs wanted to automate sequences of repetitive, complex commands. Chet Ramey describes how Bell developed several shells—but there could be only one officially supported shell for UNIX. Enter the Bourne shell. Though it was the best of that crop, the Bourne shell had its limits. And it was only available with a limited UNIX license. Brian J. Fox recounts his time at the Free Software Foundation where he needed to create a free—as in speech—version of the Bourne shell. It had to be compatible without using any elements of the original source code. That Bourne-Again Shell, aka Bash, is possibly the most widely used software in the planet. And Taz Brown describes how it’s one of the most important tools a developer can learn to use. You can dive deeper into the story of Bash, or any of the programming languages we cover this season, if you head over to the show’s site at redhat.com/commandlineheroes Follow along with the episode transcript.
Languages used for IT infrastructure don’t have expiration dates. COBOL’s been around for 60 years—and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. We maintain billions of lines of classic code for mainframes. But we’re also building new infrastructures for the cloud in languages like Go. COBOL was a giant leap for computers to make industries more efficient. Chris Short describes how learning COBOL was seen as a safe long-term bet. Sixty years later, there are billions of lines of COBOL code that can’t easily be replaced—and few specialists who know the language. Ritika Trikha explains that something must change: Either more people must learn COBOL, or the industries that rely on it have to update their codebase. Both choices are difficult. But the future isn’t being written in COBOL. Today’s IT infrastructure is built in the cloud—and a lot of it is written in Go. Carmen Hernández Andoh shares how Go’s designers wanted a language more suited for the cloud. And Kelsey Hightower points out that languages are typically hyper-focused for one task. But they’re increasingly open and flexible. You can learn more about COBOL or Go, or any of the languages we’re covering this season, by heading over to redhat.com/CommandLineHeroes. We're passing along a correction that Carmen Hernández Andoh shared on Twitter: she misspoke about Rob Pike inventing ASCII. Bob Bremer is considered the main creator of ASCII. Follow along with the episode transcript
Diving for Perl

Diving for Perl

2019-08-0600:27:477

Languages come and go. A few have the right stuff to rise to the top—and fewer stay there. Perl had a spectacular rise, a quiet slump, and has now found its place in the world of programming. Perl seemed destined to rule the web. Michael Stevenson and Mike Bursell describe how Perl’s design made it ideal for the early web. We hear from Conor Myhrvold about its motto: “There is more than one way to do it.” Elizabeth Mattijsen shares how—despite Perl’s strength—a long development cycle slowed Perl’s growth. And although it’s not the top web language anymore, John Siracusa points out that Perl lives on as a niche tool. If you want to dive deeper into the story of Perl, head on over to redhat.com/commandlineheroes. Guest John Siracusa also co-hosts three podcasts. Check out Accidental Tech Podcast, Reconcilable Differences, and Robot or Not?
Creating JavaScript

Creating JavaScript

2019-07-2300:27:0013

A mission to set the course of the world wide web in its early days. 10 days to get it done. The result? An indispensable language that changed everything. JavaScript was the underdog that won against all odds. Clive Thompson recounts the browser wars and how much the fallout influenced the future of the internet. Charles Severance explains how JavaScript went from a last-minute moonshot to the default web development language. Michael Clayton confesses he, like many others, underestimated JavaScript. And Klint Finley describes a gloomy internet without it. If you want to dive deeper into the story of JavaScript, head on over to redhat.com/commandlineheroes We first mentioned JavaScript's story in Episode 2 of Season 2—and made a slight correction to the story in this episode. To learn even more about those 10 days, check out the DevChat podcast interview with Brendan.
Learning the BASICs

Learning the BASICs

2019-07-0900:26:0218

Becoming a programmer used to require a Ph.D. and having access to some serious hardware. Then, in 1965, a couple of engineers had a radical idea: make it easier for people to get started. Beginner languages, like BASIC, burst the doors to coding wide open. Tom Cormen and Denise Dumas recall how BASIC changed everything. Avi Flombaum and Saron share tips on picking a first language in this new era of software development. And we hear from Femi Owolade-Coombes and Robyn Bergeron about how the next generation of coders are getting their start with video games. Beginner languages give everyone an opportunity to get their foot in the door. And that helps the industry as a whole. Check out redhat.com/commandlineheroes for more information on beginner languages. Find out more about why BASIC is a beloved first language and how the next generation will learn to code on Opensource.com.
Python’s Tale

Python’s Tale

2019-06-2500:28:0528

A benevolent dictator for life steps down and changes the course of the Python language forever. Guido van Rossum’s “Transfer of Power” memo brings attention to the way programming languages evolve. In this episode, Emily Morehouse makes the connection between Python’s technical extensibility and its inclusive community. Michael Kennedy explains how Python is both easy to learn and powerful enough to build YouTube and Instagram. And Diane Mueller highlights how the Python community took the lead on so many inclusive practices that are spreading in tech—including the rise of community-led decision-making. Sometimes, a benevolent dictator can get a language started. But Python shows it’s communities that make languages thrive. Learn more about Python at redhat.com/commandlineheroes Also check out these Python podcasts that guest Michael Kennedy is part of — Talk Python to Me, and Python Bytes We hear from Guido van Rossum in this episode from a Computer History Museum interview.
Command Line Heroes is back for Season 3. We’re exploring the epic history of programming languages and how communities affect their development. We're talking Python, learning about JavaScript, and diving into Perl. And that’s just our “Hello, World” for Season 3. The first episode drops June 25. Subscribe today and sign up for the newsletter. Head over to redhat.com/commandlineheroes to catch up on seasons 1 and 2. Check out all the additional content while you're there.
The best and brightest took us to the moon with the computing power of pocket calculators. Now they’re taking us farther—and they’re doing it with the tech we’ve been talking about all season. Open source is taking us to Mars. The Season 2 finale takes us to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Tom Soderstrom shares how much JPL has gained by embracing open source. Hila Lifshitz-Assaf explains that NASA is solving some of their greatest problems with open software and crowdsourcing. And Dan Wachspress describes how working with NASA means proprietary companies need to make some sacrifices—but they get to work on the most innovative projects in the world. The explorers of the final frontier are choosing to work in the open—and Mars is their destination. What’s next? And while this may mark the end of Season 2, it's not really goodbye because we still want to hear from you. Reach out to us at redhat.com/commandlineheroes—we'd love to hear what you thought of this season.
Developer advocates play important roles in open source communities. We brought a few of them together to explain how and why they do what they do. Sandra Persing (Mozilla), Ricky Robinett (Twilio), and Robyn Bergeron (Red Hat) sit down with Saron to share what they’re working on, how they support their communities, and what they’re looking forward to in 2019. Meanwhile, Season 3 of Command Line Heroes is already in the works. You can be one of the first to learn about new episodes when they drop this spring. If you haven't already, subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. It's one click, and it's 100% free. Season 1 and 2 are also available for your listening pleasure while you wait! Listen at redhat.com/en/command-line-heroes.
What does serverless really mean? Of course there are still servers—the basics of the internet aren’t changing. But what can developers accomplish when someone else handles the servers? Serverless computing makes it easy for beginners to deploy applications and makes work more efficient for the pros. Andrea Passwater shares how convenient it can be to abstract away (or remove from view) the infrastructure components of development. But as with any convenience, going serverless has tradeoffs. Rodric Rabbah explains that going serverless can mean giving up control of your deployment and restricts your ability to respond to problems—which is why he helped create Apache OpenWhisk, an open source serverless environment framework. And Himanshu Pant considers when to use serverless services. Serverless computing should be about developer empowerment. But we have to stay curious about the big picture—even as we simplify our toolbox. If you want to dive deeper into the question of serverless development—or any of the subjects we’ve explored this season—check out the resources waiting for you at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. While you’re there, you can even contribute to our very own Command Line Heroes game.
Big data is going to help solve big problems: how we grow food; how we deliver supplies to those in need; how we cure disease. But first, we need to figure out how to handle it. Modern life is filled with connected gadgets. We now produce more data in a day than we did over thousands of years. Kenneth Cukier explains how data has changed, and how it’s beginning to change us. Dr. Ellen Grant tells us how Boston Children’s Hospital is using open source software to transform mountains of data into individualized treatments. And Sage Weil shares how Ceph’s scalable and resilient cloud storage helps us manage the data flood. Gathering information is key to understanding the world around us. Big data is helping us expand our never-ending mission of discovery. For more about the projects mentioned in this episode, like ChRIS, visit redhat.com/commandlineheroes.
Bad security and reliability practices can lead to outages that affect millions. It’s time for security to join the DevOps movement. And in a DevSecOps world, we can get creative about improving security. Discovering one vulnerability per month used to be the norm. Now, software development moves quickly thanks to agile processes and DevOps teams. Vincent Danen tells us how that’s led to a drastic increase in what’s considered a vulnerability. Jesse Robbins, the former master of disaster at Amazon, explains how companies prepare for catastrophic breakdowns and breaches. And Josh Bressers, head of product security at Elastic, looks to the future of security in tech. We can’t treat security teams like grumpy boogeymen. Hear how DevSecOps teams bring heroes together for better security. These changes mean different things for everyone involved, and we’d love to hear your take. Drop us a line at redhat.com/commandlineheroes, we're listening...
Fail Better: Embracing Failure

Fail Better: Embracing Failure

2018-10-2300:27:1615

Failure is the heartbeat of discovery. We stumble a lot trying new things. The trick is to give up on failing fast. Instead, fail better. This episode looks at how tech embraces failure. Approaching failure with curiosity and openness is part of our process. Jennifer Petoff shares how Google has built a culture of learning and improvement from failure. With a shift in perspective, Jessica Rudder shows how embracing mistakes can lead to unexpected successes. And Jen Krieger explains how agile frameworks help us plan for failure. Failure doesn’t have to be the end. It can be a step to something greater. If you want to learn more about open source culture and how we can all change the culture around failing, check out some of the blog features waiting for you at redhat.com/commandlineheroes.
Looking to get into open source but not sure where to start? Are you a contributor trying to understand why only some pull requests get accepted? Or are you a maintainer who’s feeling overwhelmed? This episode looks at what it means to commit to an open source project. We follow our heroes as they progress through the roles of open source contributors: from finding projects and contributing to them, to building and maintaining thriving communities. Shannon Crabill shares how she got her start in open source at Hacktoberfest 2017, and Corinne Warnshuis describes how important it is to include people from all backgrounds to create good software. There are many ways to contribute to open source. Let’s walk through this together. For more about the characters, history, and stories of this episode, visit redhat.com/commandlineheroes. While there, check out how you can contribute to hero-engine and Command Line Heroes: The Game — all levels welcome.
Every new programming language is created to do something previously impossible. Today, there are quite a few to choose from. But which ones do you really need to know? This episode dives into the history of programming languages. We recognize the genius of “Amazing Grace,” also known as Rear Admiral Grace Hopper. It’s thanks to her that developers don’t need a PhD in mathematics to write their programs in machine code. We’re joined by Carol Willing of Project Jupyter, former Director of the Python Software Foundation, and Clive Thompson, a contributor to The New York Times Magazine and Wired who’s writing a book about how programmers think. Reminder: this season we’re building our very own, open source Command Line Heroes game. And you are invited to contribute—in whatever way makes sense for you. Visit Command Line Heroes: The Game over on GitHub for more info. And drop us a line at redhat.com/commandlineheroes, we're listening...
Before the terms 'open source' and 'internet' were even coined—there were gamers. They created proto-open source communities, sharing and building upon each other’s work. For many programmers, gaming led them to their careers. In this episode, we explore the creative free-for-all of early game development over ARPANET. Game development brings together a massive mix of creative and programming talent. But while creating video games started as an open process, a lot has changed. Hear how you can get involved in building our very own Command Line Heroes game—and in the spirit of games, hunt around for this episode’s Easter egg. Check out Command Line Heroes: The Game over on GitHub. And please let us know what you think of the show by providing a rating or review in Apple Podcasts. Or simply drop us a line at redhat.com/commandlineheroes, we're listening...
In Season 2 of Command Line Heroes, we’re living on the command line, tracking the changes that shape the world of open source development. We’re discovering the origins of programming languages; mastering the art of making a pull request; learning about supercomputers, hybrid clouds, and more. Where does that lead us? Great heights and beyond. Episode 1 launches September 11th. Listen for free on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or wherever you do your thing. Drop us a line at redhat.com/commandlineheroes, we're listening...
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Comments (61)

Goodwine Carlos

woot!

Jan 16th
Reply

.N!M4

Oh god! I’m starving to hear this season

Jan 15th
Reply

Dylan Quinones-Mattei

Wow what is wrong with people being white? If the agile group what just african americans this episode would have no mention of diversity and its impact on this subject. Very biased and subjective to this time in history. Terrible episode.

Jan 14th
Reply (1)

Alfredo Arias

great episode, thanks!

Jan 1st
Reply (1)

Indrajeet Javeri

Awsome Podcast

Dec 28th
Reply

Manuj Bhalla

Cost of serverless is more if you are trying to create a high TPS service with API gateway + lambda and cold starts need to be considered. Generally in this scenario an auto scaling group of EC2 or ECS/Fargate containers can optimize cost

Dec 15th
Reply

rastapasta420👌

The third episode and you're already ham-fisting in diversity into an unrelated thing. "Agile was made by a white guy," so what? Build something better yourself before you tear somebody else's work down.

Oct 26th
Reply

Masih Zarafshan

loved it

Oct 26th
Reply

Saurabh AV

Very nice podcast, makes me feel proud of being part of a programmers legacy!

Oct 1st
Reply

Joshua Segal

seems like an intriguing podcast 😁

Sep 9th
Reply

Kodiak Firesmith

great series!

Sep 8th
Reply (1)

Lawson C

love it😀😄😄😄😀😀😀😁

Aug 19th
Reply

yashar esmaildokht

very nice podcast

Aug 6th
Reply

Keyo Chali

I love it 😍

Aug 2nd
Reply (1)

Keyo Chali

my favorite of all time

Jul 27th
Reply

Pedro Abreu

The problem is abstraction, i didnt hear you mention this. The first languages are getting more distant from what is happening near the metal (sometimes to our benefit or not). All Python and Java is built on C so youre just learning a sort of sophisticated high level API which will be interpeted into C which will then be run time compiled and etc... This just creates an illusion of understanding a system. Like with tools, your first tool can be a chainsaw but if you dont understand how to use an axe your knowledge foundation is just shakey.

Jul 16th
Reply (2)

Justin Baker

This is an interesting propaganda podcast, Red Hat. It's completely biased, oversimplified and missing some key points. lf you are a Linux fan then you'll eat this by the spoonful, but you should be wary. If Microsoft created a podcast to tell the same story my guess is it would be a bit different. TLDR - Series is one long ad for Red Hat.

Apr 1st
Reply (2)

Cassandra Carpenter

I may not be a developer, but this is fascinating.

Mar 2nd
Reply

Allison Phillips

I’m baffled as to what in your life experiences has taught you it’s ok to classify an entire race of people as “full of rage” and “living like animal(s)”. I posit that the kind of person who would make such ridiculous, hyperbolic statements is full of animalistic rage themselves and thus desperately seeks ”others” to hate because it allows them to redirect the hatred they feel for themselves outward instead of facing it and channeling it into something constructive.

Feb 4th
Reply

Cina

Very good!

Jan 21st
Reply
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