Monday, December 19, 2011

Two Families

When I started programming, in the late 70's and early 80's, it was common for both programming languages and operating systems to pass away, and to be supplanted.  At all levels of computing, from desktops to mainframes, system software would enjoy a few years in the sun, and then fade.

What's really interesting is that changed, something happened to break the dynamic nature of the market.  I think it was just the sheer number of users who arrived with IBM PCs and who settled on UNIX for back-office systems.  When it was a few thousand programmers, they were a mobile pool, and seduction to a new standard was possible.   With a few million programmers the equation changed.  Suddenly the standard had a huge weight.

And so we are left with the two surviving families, Windows and UNIX, into the future.  (I lump Apple and Linux into the UNIX family.)  They are infrastructure now, and might last a really long time.  Other curious standards, like wall voltage, and the railroad gauge, were set a long time ago.  So it could be with these.

We are moving to the cloud now a bit, and that might seem different, but it is just an abstraction layer.  As I understand it, essentially all cloud servers are running UNIX, and those few that aren't, are running a Windows variant.

So, I think my sidebar recommendation to bootstrap the LAMP stack is a good one.  It's infrastructure, and will be slow to change.

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