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More Evidence for Sitting Together

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  • George Paci
    All, Happy New Year! ... More here: http://www.paci.us/links/pike --George In programming, as in horror movies, splitting up the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 1 9:16 AM

      Happy New Year!

      I stumbled on this in a Slashdot interview with Rob Pike:

      > One odd detail that I think was vital to how the group
      > functioned was a result of the first Unix being run on a
      > clunky minicomputer with terminals in the machine
      > room. People working on the system congregated in the room
      > --to use the computer, you pretty much had to be
      > there. (This idea didn't seem odd back then; it was a
      > natural evolution of the old hour-at-a-time way of booking
      > machines like the IBM 7090.) The folks liked working that
      > way, so when the machine was moved to a different room
      > from the terminals, even when it was possible to connect
      > from your private office, there was still a `Unix room'
      > with a bunch of terminals where people would congregate,
      > code, design, and just hang out. (The coffee machine was
      > there too.)

      > The Unix room still exists, and it may be the greatest
      > cultural reason for the success of Unix as a
      > technology. More groups could profit from its lesson, but
      > it's really hard to add a Unix-room-like space to an
      > existing organization. You need the culture to encourage
      > people not to hide in their offices, you need a way of
      > using systems that makes a public machine a viable place
      > to work - typically by storing the data somewhere other
      > than the 'desktop' - and you need people like Ken and
      > Dennis (and Brian Kernighan and Doug McIlroy and Mike Lesk
      > and Stu Feldman and Greg Chesson and ...) hanging out in
      > the room, but if you can make it work, it's magical.

      > When I first started at the Labs, I spent most of my time
      > in the Unix room. The buzz was palpable; the education
      > unparalleled.

      More here: http://www.paci.us/links/pike

      --George <gpaci at tiac dot net>

      In programming, as in horror movies,
      splitting up the group is a Bad Idea.
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