In the Beginning...was the Command Line

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9780380815937: In the Beginning...was the Command Line

This is "the Word" -- one man's word, certainly -- about the art (and artifice) of the state of our computer-centric existence. And considering that the "one man" is Neal Stephenson, "the hacker Hemingway" (Newsweek) -- acclaimed novelist, pragmatist, seer, nerd-friendly philosopher, and nationally bestselling author of groundbreaking literary works (Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon, etc., etc.) -- the word is well worth hearing. Mostly well-reasoned examination and partial rant, Stephenson's In the Beginning... was the Command Line is a thoughtful, irreverent, hilarious treatise on the cyber-culture past and present; on operating system tyrannies and downloaded popular revolutions; on the Internet, Disney World, Big Bangs, not to mention the meaning of life itself.

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Review:

Neal Stephenson, author of the sprawling and engaging Cryptonomicon, has written a manifesto that could be spoken by a character from that brilliant book. Primarily, In the Beginning ... Was the Command Line discusses the past and future of personal computer operating systems. "It is the fate of manufactured goods to slowly and gently depreciate as they get old," he writes, "but it is the fate of operating systems to become free." While others in the computer industry express similarly dogmatic statements, Stephenson charms the reader into his way of thinking, providing anecdotes and examples that turn the pages for you.

Stephenson is a techie, and he's writing for an audience of coders and hackers in Command Line. The idea for this essay began online, when a shortened version of it was posted on Slashdot.org. The book still holds some marks of an e-mail flame gone awry, and some tangents should have been edited to hone his formidable arguments. But unlike similar writers who also discuss technical topics, he doesn't write to exclude; readers who appreciate computing history (like Dealers of Lightning or Fire in the Valley) can easily step into this book.

Stephenson tackles many myths about industry giants in this volume, specifically Apple and Microsoft. By now, every newspaper reader has heard of Microsoft's overbearing business practices, but Stephenson cuts to the heart of new issues for the software giant with a finely sharpened steel blade. Apple fares only a little better as Stephenson (a former Mac user himself) highlights the early steps the company took to prepare for a monopoly within the computer market--and its surprise when this didn't materialize. Linux culture gets a thorough--but fair--skewering, and the strengths of BeOS are touted (although no operating system is nearly close enough to perfection in Stephenson's eyes).

As for the rest of us, who have gladly traded free will and an intellectual understanding of computers for a clutter-free, graphically pleasing interface, Stephenson has thoughts to offer as well. He fully understands the limits nonprogrammers feel in the face of technology (an example being the "blinking 12" problem when your VCR resets itself). Even so, within Command Line he convincingly encourages us as a society to examine the metaphors of technology--simplifications that aren't really much simpler--that we greedily accept. --Jennifer Buckendorff

About the Author:

Neal Stephenson is the author of Reamde, Anathem, and the three-volume historical epic the Baroque Cycle (Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System of the World), as well as Cryptonomicon, The Diamond Age, Snow Crash, and Zodiac. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

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Neal Stephenson
Editorial: HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States (2011)
ISBN 10: 0380815931 ISBN 13: 9780380815937
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Descripción HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2011. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. This is the Word -- one man s word, certainly -- about the art (and artifice) of the state of our computer-centric existence. And considering that the one man is Neal Stephenson, the hacker Hemingway (Newsweek) -- acclaimed novelist, pragmatist, seer, nerd-friendly philosopher, and nationally bestselling author of groundbreaking literary works (Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon, etc., etc.) -- the word is well worth hearing. Mostly well-reasoned examination and partial rant, Stephenson s In the Beginning. was the Command Line is a thoughtful, irreverent, hilarious treatise on the cyber-culture past and present; on operating system tyrannies and downloaded popular revolutions; on the Internet, Disney World, Big Bangs, not to mention the meaning of life itself. Nº de ref. de la librería AAC9780380815937

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Stephenson, Neal
Editorial: William Morrow Paperbacks (1999)
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Descripción William Morrow Paperbacks, 1999. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Never used!. Nº de ref. de la librería 0380815931

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Descripción 1999. PAP. Estado de conservación: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Nº de ref. de la librería VC-9780380815937

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Neal Stephenson
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Descripción HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2011. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. This is the Word -- one man s word, certainly -- about the art (and artifice) of the state of our computer-centric existence. And considering that the one man is Neal Stephenson, the hacker Hemingway (Newsweek) -- acclaimed novelist, pragmatist, seer, nerd-friendly philosopher, and nationally bestselling author of groundbreaking literary works (Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon, etc., etc.) -- the word is well worth hearing. Mostly well-reasoned examination and partial rant, Stephenson s In the Beginning. was the Command Line is a thoughtful, irreverent, hilarious treatise on the cyber-culture past and present; on operating system tyrannies and downloaded popular revolutions; on the Internet, Disney World, Big Bangs, not to mention the meaning of life itself. Nº de ref. de la librería AAC9780380815937

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Neal Stephenson
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Descripción HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2011. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. This is the Word -- one man s word, certainly -- about the art (and artifice) of the state of our computer-centric existence. And considering that the one man is Neal Stephenson, the hacker Hemingway (Newsweek) -- acclaimed novelist, pragmatist, seer, nerd-friendly philosopher, and nationally bestselling author of groundbreaking literary works (Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon, etc., etc.) -- the word is well worth hearing. Mostly well-reasoned examination and partial rant, Stephenson s In the Beginning. was the Command Line is a thoughtful, irreverent, hilarious treatise on the cyber-culture past and present; on operating system tyrannies and downloaded popular revolutions; on the Internet, Disney World, Big Bangs, not to mention the meaning of life itself. Nº de ref. de la librería BZE9780380815937

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Descripción 1999. PAP. Estado de conservación: New. New Book.Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Nº de ref. de la librería IB-9780380815937

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Descripción Harper Perennial 11/9/1999, 1999. Paperback or Softback. Estado de conservación: New. In the Beginning.Was the Command Line. Book. Nº de ref. de la librería BBS-9780380815937

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Editorial: Avon Books (1999)
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Descripción Avon Books, 1999. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. All items inspected and guaranteed. All Orders Dispatched from the UK within one working day. Established business with excellent service record. Nº de ref. de la librería mon0000148235

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Descripción William Morrow Paperbacks. PAPERBACK. Estado de conservación: New. 0380815931. Nº de ref. de la librería Z0380815931ZN

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