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LinuxPlanet: Interview: Tim O'Reilly on Open Source and Linux

Oct 02, 1999, 14:57 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Simon Cozens)

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[ Thanks to R McGuinness for this link. ]

"But moving on, starting about 1996 or 1997, I started to be bothered by the discrepancy between what I saw in our book sales, and what was being written about by the technology press, and in particular, things came to a head for me around Perl. Our book, Programming Perl, which we'd originally published in 1991, had continued to grow in sales in 1994, '95, '96. With the web, it was really exploding. In fact, the computer book buyer at Borders told us that in 1996, Programming Perl was Borders' most profitable book in any category, and that was just really interesting for me, because in that same time period, there was no mention of Programming Perl in the computer trade press. Instead there was all this talk about ActiveX, you know, Microsoft ActiveX, which nobody used. And I decided I wanted to do something about that, so I started talking more about Perl, and you know, I'd already been talking about the Internet, so it was just an extension of talking about the Internet, just saying, well, here are these interesting technologies that are widely used on the Internet that nobody's talking about."

"Anyway, in early 1998, I organised sort of small private meeting of Open Source developers--at the time we were calling them `Free Software' developers--and the reason was also that in my work of documenting a lot of these programs I realised that many of these projects had a lot in common, but the people didn't necessarily know each other, they didn't talk to each other. So I knew a lot more of them than knew each other. Actually, going back a bit, in 1997 we decided to hold a Perl Conference, and The Perl Conference was a huge success and it was really exciting for me to have all these developers who knew each other by email but had never met in the flesh. So the Open Source Summit was really an extension of what had happened at the Perl Conference; I went, "Gosh, Linus and Larry Wall really ought to know each other", you know."

Complete Interview

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