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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
54 Episodes
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Web UX Begins

Web UX Begins

2021-05-0424:53

Looking at the internet in 1995 is like looking back at awkward grade school yearbooks—all the weirdness and flaws stand out in stark contrast to what it’s grown into since. And web design took awhile to become a career—but it got a big boost in 1995. When the Batman Forever website launched to promote the movie, it showed people what was possible on the web. And it forever changed what we’d expect from a website. Jay Hoffmann describes the quirky designs of the early web. Richard Vijgen explains how we went from a lack of conventions to a homogenized web. Jeffrey Zeldman recounts building the Batman Forever movie’s website—and sowing the seeds of professional web design. Jessica Helfand outlines the process and joys of designing a web page. And Kyle Drake shares how he founded Neocities in an attempt to recreate some of that magic of the early web.
A Language for the Web

A Language for the Web

2021-04-2026:001

The Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) gave everyone a foundation for building and viewing the World Wide Web. In 1995, its standardization led to dominance. Its simplicity helped it spread. And its solid common foundation helped shape the internet. Dr. Belinda Barnet explains what kind of framework was initially needed to build and navigate the Web. Jeff Veen describes the three ingredients Tim Berners-Lee combined to create HTML: the ideal language for the Web. Gavin Nicol recounts the need to standardize the quickly-growing language. And Gretchen McCulloch points out how HTML instills an inherent bias for English speakers to develop for the web.If you want to read up on some of our research on HTML, you can check out all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. Follow along with the episode transcript. 
From NSF to ISP

From NSF to ISP

2021-04-0627:31

1995 was the year that ISPs became the dominant gateway to the information superhighway. But how’d we go from ARPANET all the way to that? It turns out, none of it would have happened without a team of intrepid engineers at the University of Michigan.Marc Weber tells us how a tension between academics and the military set the next evolution of the ARPANET. Douglas Van Houweling discusses the work his MERIT team did at the University of Michigan to build the national backbone of the NSFNET. Elise Gerich, MERIT’s systems manager, talks about how they made the leap from a T1 connection to a T3 to handle traffic from their growing network. And Janet Abbate emphasizes how all this set the stage for the commercialized internet that birthed the dot-com boom in 1995.If you want to read up on some of our research on the NSFNET, you can check out all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. Follow along with the episode transcript.
Connecting the Dot-Com

Connecting the Dot-Com

2021-03-2327:54

The year is 1995. The internet starts going mainstream and the dot-com bubble begins its rapid inflation. But 10 years before all of this, a small team of systems administrators made a seemingly simple decision that would turn out to have a monumental impact on these events and would set the course of the internet for the foreseeable future. Dr. W. Joseph Campbell sets the stage for our season on the internet in 1995. Claire L. Evans explains how hard it was to find anything on the early internet. One team was charged with compiling that information in the early days of the ARPANET. Elizabeth “Jake” Feinler recounts being the internet’s sole librarian in those early days, and how she helped come up with the rules for future domain names. Paul Mockapetris describes designing the domain name system they later implemented as the internet went from a public network to a private business. And Ben Tarnoff explains the results of that increasingly privatized internet.If you want to read up on some of our research on the domain name system (DNS), you can check out all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. Follow along with the episode transcript.
The internet’s been around for awhile now. And it’s safe to say that it’s changed much of our daily lives. But not so long ago, there were few people who realized how transformative the internet would become. Season 7 of Command Line Heroes looks back at those few who saw the internet’s early potential and forever shaped it during its most formative year: 1995. From the origins of e-commerce, to web design, to HTML, to the infrastructure holding it all together around the world, this season highlights the heroes who turned the nascent internet into the vital global network we know today. The first episode drops March 23, 2021. Subscribe today and sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates. 
If you think hard work is enough to guarantee success, you haven’t been listening. All season long, we’ve profiled Black inventors who haven’t quite been given their due. Arlan Hamilton is helping reverse that trend by leveling the playing field—and changing the venture capital game.Arlan Hamilton’s story mirrors many we’ve covered this season—overcoming adversity to find success. But she’s also helping redefine what success can look like and, in the process, is helping change the broader tech industry. Janice Omadeke lays out how diversifying the VC community in turn leads to greater diversity among founders receiving funding. Ramona Ortega explains how traditional VC priorities often pass over startups that can be successful. And Scott Myers-Lipton discusses inequality in Silicon Valley (and beyond) and how he’s working to bring about lasting change.If you want to read up on more of our research on Arlan Hamilton, you can check out all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. Follow along with the episode transcript.If you want to hear more from Arlan, check out her podcast: "Your First Million"." It's about how different people became portfolio companies at Backstage Capital.
Is the moon made of cheese? Of course not. But can a person walk on the surface? Not too long ago, we couldn’t answer that question. But with the help of Gladys Perkins, we soon figured out that we could send a team to the moon and have them safely land on its surface. There was a time when the United States was behind the Soviets in the space race. Everyone had their sights set on the moon. Andrew Chaikin describes NASA’s disastrous Ranger missions. Erik Conway explains how complicated the trajectory calculations were—and to top it all off, why they often couldn’t be done in advance. To succeed, NASA’s new Surveyor program would need the capability to adjust trajectory mid-flight. Gladys Perkins made those calculations possible. But her part in this story hasn’t been well documented. Our editor Kim Huang recounts how difficult it was to get details of her story. And Vahe Peroomian explains how important it is to get these histories told to inspire the next generation to take on moonshot projects.Finding information about Gladys Perkins was tough. We found some breadcrumbs to her story on this Hughes Aircraft blog.If you want to read up on some of our research on Gladys Perkins, you can check out all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. Follow along with the episode transcript. 
Roy Clay had to chase after opportunities. But landing a promising position wasn’t the finish line. Roy Clay pushed those opportunities beyond their mandate, transforming an industry in the process.Kathy Cotton recounts how few opportunities Roy Clay had growing up—but how, later, talk of his genius helped him get his break in the tech industry. Chuck House describes how Clay’s qualifications and experience were just what Hewlett and Packard were looking for. Bill Davidow explains how Clay made his mark at HP building a department, and shaping the strategy for a revolutionary 16-bit minicomputer. And in Clay, Ken Coleman found a role model and mentor. He followed in Clay’s footsteps, and helped expand a legacy of inclusion.Chuck House interviewed Roy Clay for his blog.Kathy Cotton featured Roy Clay in her documentary "A Place at the Table." Here is the full interview of Roy Clay with Dr. Barbara Canon and Rev. McKnight.If you want to read up on some of our research on Roy Clay, you can check out all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. Follow along with the episode transcript. 
It’s not easy to learn how to use computers when you can’t actually touch them. But that’s how Dr. Clarence Ellis started his career of invention—which would ultimately lead to reimagining how we all worked with computers and each other.Martez Mott describes the “Mother of all Demos” that would inspire a generation of builders. Gary Nutt recounts working with Dr. Clarence Ellis at Xerox PARC, and the atmosphere at the coveted research lab. Chengzheng Sun and Paul Curzon explain how Operational Transformation—the project to which Dr. Ellis devoted so much time and effort—laid the foundation for the collaborative tools many of us use every day. And Delilah DeMers shares how humble her father was, and how he loved teaching people that technology can be a force for good.“Mother of All Demos” clip courtesy of SRI International. To learn more about Operational Transformation, you can check out this FAQ written by Chengzheng Sun. If you want to read up on some of our research on Dr. Clarence Ellis, you can check out all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. Follow along with the episode transcript.
Sometimes an inventor designs a device for a specific purpose. Sometimes it’s to try something new. But successful inventions often shape industries beyond those they initially intended. Dr. Marc Hannah built an invention with far bigger effects than anyone could have imagined—like bringing dinosaurs to life, building liquid robots, and letting the Titanic set sail one more time. Raqi Syed gives some context on the evolution of special effects in the movie industry. Mark Grossman explains how the graphics world was more than ready for an upgrade. Tom Davis recounts the difficulties that he and his team had getting people to understand what was possible with the Geometry Engine. Luckily, Steve “Spaz” Williams defied his bosses and showed them its power to bring worlds to life, starting with Jurassic Park. Camille Cellucci explains that from then on, everything changed for the movie industry—and for the broader world of graphics.For more on the history of computer graphics, Mark Grossman recommends this post. Steve "Spaz" Williams shared a short doc about the making of Jurassic Park. If you want to read up on some of our research on Dr. Marc Hannah, you can check out all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. Follow along with the episode transcript.
Dr. Mark Dean has a superpower. He wasn’t born with it. He wasn’t exposed to high levels of radiation. It’s a power he learned from his father. And because of it, he was able to revolutionize the personal computer. David Bradley explains how in the 1980s, IBM had a reputation for building big, enterprise mainframes. No one believed IBM could make a competitive PC. But that’s exactly what “Project Chess” was tasked with creating. Tony Hey describes the monumental shift in strategy it was for IBM to enter the PC market. Pete Martinez and Dennis Moeller recount their days working with Mark on the skunkworks project. And how IBM's strategy for creating a computer in under a year changed the personal computing industry forever—opening it to innovators outside the walls of IBM. Mark Dean holds 3 of the 9 patents for the IBM 5150—the first IBM PC—including the revolutionary ISA bus. He then went on to lead the team that created the first gigahertz microprocessor, and eventually taught at the University of Tennessee. Mwamba Bowa shares her most cherished lesson from the inventor—how to cultivate that super power for herself. Clips of Mark Dean courtesy of Susan "Suze" Shaner, Principal of Sage Leadership Strategies, from a Comcast Cable interview, November 2009, and from the American Museum of Science & Energy featured talk, August 2019.If you want to read up on some of our research on Dr. Mark Dean, you can check out all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. Follow along with the episode transcript.
Aristotle and Eratosthenes are big names in geodesy. They got pretty close to measuring the size of the Earth. But the woman who got it done? She grew up a farmer, dreaming of something bigger. And her work changed how we see the world.Dr. Gladys West didn’t have much room for error in her quest for higher education. Marvin Jackson recounts the obstacles in her path—and the challenges she faced in her early career. Gavin Schrock traces how geodesy progressed before Dr. West, and how foundational her work was for the GPS systems that followed. Paul Ceruzzi describes the state-of-the-art technology available at Dahlgren that helped Dr. West model the world. Todd Humphreys explains how that model, and the GPS systems that use it, support our way of life in more ways than we realize.It’s an astounding story that may never have been told if it hadn’t been for Gwen James, Dr. West’s Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority sister. She makes the case for telling these stories before they’re lost—because there are definitely more of them out there.If you want to read up on some of our research on Dr. Gladys West, you can check out all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. Follow along with the episode transcript.
Many of us grew up playing cartridge-based games. But there's few who know the story behind how those cartridges came to be. And even fewer who know the story of the man behind them: Jerry Lawson. Few people realized how his vision would change video games. Jenny List explains how before Jerry Lawson, a console could only play one game. Benj Edwards describes how Lawson partnered with a pair of engineers to design a console with swappable cartridges. Pong creator Al Alcorn recounts the FCC limitations on Lawson’s Fairchild Channel F—and recognizes Lawson’s immense contributions to the gaming industry. And those in the know, like Jeremy Saucier, advocate for sharing Lawson’s story.Because Lawson’s story was almost lost, he was recently recognized by Joseph Saulter at the Games Developer’s Conference—thanks to the work of journalist John William Templeton. And his children, Anderson and Karen Lawson, share how passionate Jerry was about electronics—and how much it meant that he finally got the recognition he deserved.If you want to read up on some of our research on Jerry Lawson, you can check out all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. Follow along with the episode transcript.
Inventors don’t always get the credit they deserve, even for world-changing breakthroughs.  Season 6 of Command Line Heroes tells the stories of ingenious inventors who haven’t been given their full due. These heroes did nothing less than create new industries, dazzle our imaginations, and reshaped the world as we know it.  The first episode drops on October 13, 2020. Subscribe today and sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates.  
The 10x Coder is often positioned as a mythical developer who can always save the day. Saron and Clive investigate how much of that myth is grounded in truth.  Greg Sadetsky argues that coding is much like professional sports—some athletes are bound to be much better than those starting out. Brianna Wu and Bonnie Eisenman pick apart the myth by sharing how much they have had to clean up after supposed 10x Coders. Jonathan Solórzano-Hamilton recounts the story of "Rick," a self-proclaimed rockstar developer who assumed too much. And everyone considers the benefits of the 1x Coders—because what use is code without ideas and experiences to guide development? If you want to read up on some of our research on 10x coders, you can check out all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. Follow along with the episode transcript.
Where Coders Code

Where Coders Code

2020-07-2832:284

Home office. Corporate park. Co-working space. Funland campus. Coders expect options when it comes to their workplace. The relocation of the average workspace from the office to the home has revealed the benefits of working from home—but also highlighted its tradeoffs.  Saron Yitbarek and Clive Thompson continue their discussion of coding careers by considering workspaces. Mary Allen Wilkes shares her experience as the first developer to work from home. David Heinemeier Hansson argues remote work gives his colleagues time for deep thinking. Dave West explains why he believes face-to-face work still produces the best results. And Maude Mensah Simpson weighs the freedoms of the home office against missing opportunities for in-person interactions. If you want to read up on some of our research on workspaces, you can check out all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. Follow along with the episode transcript.
Becoming a Coder

Becoming a Coder

2020-07-1433:187

Command line heroes are software engineers, developers, programmers, systems administrators—coders. That variety in coding careers is almost as varied as the paths coders take to land their jobs.  Saron Yitbarek and Clive Thompson start the season by exploring some ways coders start their tech careers—some common, many unexpected. Many choose to start with a degree in computer science. But don’t underestimate the maturing bootcamp tracks, the mid-to-late-career switchers, and coders from outside the insulated tech hubs. You might be surprised who answers the call to code, where they come from—and how much they’ve already accomplished. If you want to read up on some of our research on coding careers, you can check out all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. Follow along with the episode transcript.
After four seasons of epic tales about how command line heroes have shaped the tech landscape, we're tackling a new topic: the job itself.  Season 5 covers the job of being a coder. How coding careers begin. How the job is done. How it’s changed. And how coders are shaping its evolution.Clive Thompson, tech journalist and friend of the podcast, joins us for this 3-episode mini-season. Clive shares his insights from the over 200 interviews he’s conducted with coders: programmers, developers, software engineers, sysadmins, and more. The first episode drops July 14, 2020. Subscribe today and sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates. Head over to redhat.com/commandlineheroes to catch up on seasons 1-4.
Steve Wozniak (aka Woz) has had a tremendous effect on the world of hardware. Season 4 features many of the devices he’s designed, built, worked on, and been inspired by. But for Woz, what’s most important isn’t necessarily the devices he’s created—it’s how he built them.  Woz recounts how his early tinkering led to a lifelong passion for engineering. He started learning about computers on a GE 225 in high school. Soon enough, he was designing improvements to computers he wanted to buy—eventually defining his mantra for simplicity in design. That philosophy helped him finish the Apple I after seeing the Altair 8800 at the Homebrew Computer Club, and to create the floppy drive for the Apple II. But what he’s proudest of these days is the recognition for his engineering accomplishments—and sharing them with the world.Follow along with the episode transcript.
Gaming consoles are pioneering machines. The Dreamcast pushed the limits of what even consoles could do. But that wasn’t enough to guarantee commercial success. Despite that failure, fans say no other console has accomplished so much.  The Dreamcast was meant to restore Sega to its glory days. After the disappointing Saturn, Sega pitted two teams against each other to build a new console. Andrew Borman describes the Dreamcast as a generational leap in hardware. Jeremy Parish explains how big a departure its production was from Sega’s usual processes. Mineko Okamura provides an insider’s insight on developing the Dreamcast. Brian Bacino recounts the console’s massive U.S. launch. But despite record U.S. sales, Sega had to pull the plug on the Dreamcast. Too good to let die, homebrewers like Luke Benstead plugged it back in.  If you want to read up on some of our research on the Dreamcast, you can check out all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. You’ll find extra content for every episode.   Slight correction: While the Dreamcast did have a keyboard and mouse available, it did not have a full keyboard controller.   Follow along with the episode transcript.
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Comments (69)

Saeed Ahadian

Always found technology podcasts boring but god this one is amazing.

Apr 30th
Reply

Beatrix Ducz

inspiration not only for young, but old girls as well to try to leave a mark upon life. #girlscode

Nov 18th
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Milad

I can't wait!!

Sep 29th
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Cat Foster

I've always been interested in programming, but never thought I could do it. I thought that listen to a podcast about it my help me understand it better and make me more comfortable with it. I didn't expect to fall in love with programming or this podcast, but I am falling hard. Much love!

Sep 17th
Reply

Milad

it was awesome!

Jul 14th
Reply

.N!M4

what have happen to this podcast?

Jun 2nd
Reply

Lorenzo Fiorini

O_O this was my face when she said she does manufacturing in downtown Manhattan

May 27th
Reply

James Abreu Mieses

Awesome show.

Jan 28th
Reply

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

seems like an intriguing podcast 😁

Sep 9th
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Kodiak Firesmith

great series!

Sep 8th
Reply (1)

Lawson C

love it😀😄😄😄😀😀😀😁

Aug 19th
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