As tablets and computer-phones flood the market, the headlines read: "The Personal Computer is Dying." But they are only half true: an artifact of the PC is dying, but the essence of the PC revolution is closer to realization than ever before, while also being closer to loss than ever before.
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It's been said that the mix of stories on Slashdot is like an omelet: linux and tech, mixed with science and Legos, and a few reviews and sci-fi folded in. It's not just the stories that are a good mix, however, it's the people behind them. Through the past 15 years, an unusual cast of characters have been responsible for keeping the site up and running and bringing you the stories you want to read. We've asked a number of them to write a few words about their time working here and to share a few memories. Below you'll find that some of our former employees don't know what "a few words" means, and a collection of what bringing you news for the past 15 years has been like.
I recently sat down with Chris DiBona to talk about the 15th anniversary of Slashdot. In addition to discussing the joys of heading an email campaign against spamming politicians, and the perils of throwing a co-worker's phone into a bucket, even if you think that bucket is empty, we talked about the growth of Google Summer of Code. Below you'll find his story of how a conversation about trying to get kids to be more active with computers in the summer has led to the release of 55 million lines of code.
Back in 2006, we discussed Jonathan Coulton's 'Code Monkey,' a song about the plight of under-appreciated developers. In the years since, Coulton's efforts to produce geek-oriented songs have propelled him to a successful music career. To mark Slashdot's 15th anniversary, he was kind enough to do a brand new recording of 'Code Monkey' for us. The video is embedded below, and here's a description from the email he sent to CmdrTaco: "It seemed fitting to do a new version of that song. I have all these gadgets that I buy and barely learn how to play, and when I heard you guys were looking for videos and things, it inspired me to sit down and actually try to get some of them working. What you see is me doing a version of Code Monkey performed live on electric guitar and laptop. The grid with lights is a monome running Pages, Polygomé and mlrv on my mac. You’re also hearing some loops and noises from Ableton Live, controlled by footswitches, the monome, and the little keyboard, which is an OP-1. Back in 2006 I didn’t know what I was doing, and with all these gizmos, I still don’t. So that’s a relief." Thanks, Jonathan.
In the summer of 1999, Bruce Perens became our very first interview subject, answering questions about open source licensing. Almost 14 years later, Bruce is still one of the most influential programmers and advocates in the open source community. He's graciously agreed to answer all your questions about the state of things and what's changed in those 15 years. As with previous interviews, we'll send the best questions to Mr. Perens, and post his answers in a day or two. Ask as many questions as you'd like, but please keep them to one per post.
Monday you had a chance to ask Linus Torvalds any question you wanted. We sent him a dozen of the highest rated and below you'll see what he has to say about computers, programming, books, and copyrights. He also talks about what he would have done differently with Linux if he had to do it all over again. Hint: it rhymes with nothing.
Fifteen years from now, your alarm goes off at 7:30 AM, pulling you out of a dead sleep. You roll over, grumbling a command, and the alarm obediently shuts up. You drift off again, but ten minutes later the alarm returns, more insistent. It won't be so easily pacified this time; the loose sensory netting inside your pillow will keep the noise going until it detects alpha waves in drastically higher numbers than theta waves. Or until it gets the automated password from the shower. Sighing, you roll out of bed, pull your Computing ID (CID) card from the alarm unit, and stumble out of the bedroom. Pausing briefly to drop your CID into your desktop computer, you make your way to the shower and begin washing. Your alarm triggered the shower's heating unit, so the water comes out at a pleasant 108 degrees, exactly your preference. (42 degrees, you remind yourself — the transition to metric still isn't second nature, after almost two full years.) You wash quickly to avoid exceeding your water quota, and step out refreshed, ready to meet the day. (Read on for more.)
Linus Torvalds was (and still is) the primary force behind the development of the Linux kernel, and since you are reading Slashdot, you already knew that. Mr. Torvalds has agreed to answer any questions you may have about the direction of software, his thoughts on politics, winning the Millenial Technology Prize, or anything else. Ask as many questions as you'd like, but please keep them to one per post. We'll send the best to Linus, and post his answers when we get them back. Remember to keep an eye out for the rest of our upcoming special interviews this month.
15 years is a long time on the internet. Many websites have come and gone over that time, and many that stuck around haven't had any interest in preserving their older content. Fortunately, as Slashdot approaches its 2^17th story, we've managed to keep track of almost all our old postings — all but the first 2^10, or so. In addition to that, we've held onto user comments, the lifeblood of the site, from 1999 onward. As we celebrate Slashdot's 15th anniversary this month, we thought we'd take a moment to highlight a few of the notable or interesting stories and discussions that have happened here in the past decade and a half. Read on for a trip down memory lane.
CmdrTaco sent in a link to his weblog post looking back on his experience running Slashdot for fifteen years: "For me the story of Slashdot is utterly inseparable from my own life. I built it while still in college: when normal people did their homework or had personal lives, I spent my evenings making icons in The Gimp, crafting perl in vim or writing a new story to share with my friends. I’ll never forget the nights spent tailing the access_log and celebrating a line from microsoft.com or mit.edu with friends like Jeff, Dave, Nate, and Kurt."
I recently sat down with one of our co-founders, Jeff "hemos" Bates, to talk about Slashdot's 15th anniversary and the world of niche news. Because history was involved, Jeff had a lot to say about the growth of specialized news and the partisanship that groups make. Bates contends that what's old is new when it comes to media, and that people would rather be right than get along. Below you'll find a condensed version of his treatise on niche media and communities.
Slashdot turns 15 this month! You may have noticed that we’ve swapped out the usual logo for the first of the reader-contributed designs we'll be featuring this month. (If you think you have a better idea, we'd love to see it; all artists whose designs we choose to run will get Slashdot anniversary T-shirts, and one will get a Nexus 7 tablet.) We're also happy to announce an overdue feature here on Slashdot: a blog with information from the developers and editors. We'll use it to provide updates and background information about the site's development (for instance, new features or fixed bugs, or changes in the user interface), and try to answer reader questions about the site at greater length than the FAQ. Shameless tease: today, you can read about the launch of Slashdot mobile in the inaugural post. We might use the blog to expound on story choice or to make non-critical announcements, too. You probably don't come to Slashdot generally to read about Slashdot, though, so don't worry &mdash the blog will live safely and quietly in the background until you want to read it. Since this is a new feature, we're still working out exactly how it should best be used, so feel free to make suggestions below on what you'd like to see. Between now and the end of October, look for a passel of other treats, too, starting with an interview with Woz later today. We hope you'll get together with other readers at one of the many parties planned for later this month, also. Slashdot exists for and because of everyone who reads the site; thank you for being part of it.
As you may have heard, Slashdot will be celebrating its 15th anniversary in October. As part of that celebration, we've set up a page to organize meetups for Slashdot users to hang out and shoot the breeze in meatspace for a change. We're going to be sending out bunches of free T-shirts to many of these gatherings, and we'll be printing them and sending them out pretty soon. So if you're planning on attending and haven't signed up yet, make sure you do so by the end of the day, so that we can be sure to have enough T-shirts on hand for you. (You can still sign up later, of course, but you may miss your chance at a free shirt.) Slashdot staff will be hosting parties in Ann Arbor, San Francisco, New York, and Raleigh [Edit: And Austin! :) ] (sign up for any of these, or others, on the anniversary party page by filtering for your preferred location). We hope to see you there, or hear about your own meetups!
We'll be sending a passel of shirts to the crowd-sourced parties that we hope you'll get to, and to any artists whose Slashdot logo suggestions we end up selecting. (There are nearly 30 parties planned so far, in places as far-flung as Latvia and Nigeria!) But starting today the limited edition Slashdot anniversary shirt is also available from our brethren and sistren at ThinkGeek (still, for now, serving the same corporate overlord as Slashdot). So if you can't land one of the swag ones (sorry!), you can still swathe yourself in the Slashdot livery, which isn't so different from the colors of the Vogon constructor fleet. We'll only turn 15 once, but a clever T-shirt is forever. Update: 09/21 17:12 GMT by T : If you want to come hang out with the folks who post the stories to Slashdot day-to-day, note that Unknown Lamer is hosting a party in Raleigh, NC, Soulskill and Samzenpus will both be in Ann Arbor, and timothy will be at parties (coffee shops are awesome!) in Houston and Austin.
October marks Slashdot's 15th birthday. That's right, we're almost old enough to drive the PT Cruiser. Throughout October we'll be running a number of meta news articles about our history, plans for the future, and special interviews. We're also giving away T-shirts to people willing to organize and host the biggest Slashdot parties. It's easy to get started. Just visit the Slashdot Anniversary Party Web Page. Sign up to go to a party, or if there aren't any in your area, create your own during the official party period of Oct. 20-30. The details of your local parties are up to you. Each has a corresponding discussion so you can work it out amongst yourselves. Wherever several Slashdot readers gather, we'll attempt to mail shirts until we run out. Geeknet will host parties in San Francisco, New York, and Ann Arbor. To be eligible for schwag, you need to schedule your party by September 27, or sign up to attend one by September 28. This will give us time to figure out where to send the shirts, and time to send them. Help us celebrate 15 years of news for nerds and stuff that matters.