Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides's Reviews > In the Beginning...Was the Command Line

In the Beginning...Was the Command Line by Neal Stephenson
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's review
May 11, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: trade-commerce, technology
Recommended for: computer geeks, technology historians, and Neal Stephenson fans

I'm not sure if this is interesting but fundamentally dated, or dated but fundamentally interesting. One of the two.

I first read this around the time it was published, when it was released for free as a file on Neal Stephenson's web site. This was so long ago that no one used the word "ebook," at least not as a matter of course. I think the book may have been released simultaneously as a dead tree book and as a distribute-for-free file under the GPL or something similar, but the difficulty of finding a copy on the web suggests to me that either I am wrong or that Stephenson or one of his business associates decided that they'd rather sell e-versions than give them away for free.

I was an undergraduate teaching assistant for a communication course called "Living in the Information Age" when this was first released. I shared it with the other people on the teaching team, and they all loved it. Today I think you may have to be either an extreme geek/nerd to appreciate this, or a technology historian. Operating system and open/closed source wars still matter, but 10 years is a huge amount of time in computer years.

That said, if you care how we got from modems that were phones with rubber cups on top to where we are today, you should read this.
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