1. 15

  2. 5

    Damn, amazing foresight. It’s weird how nowadays we as Linux/UNIX developers exalt all these commandline tools as the pinnacle of productivity and here is this oldtimer, salivating after pointer devices and graphical user interfaces.

    I think when you have to work with a console, and more than that, a mediocre console, graphical user interfaces look like a promise of salvation. But now, everything that can be done better with GUIs is done with GUIs. So graphical and commandline tools now play on an even field- because commandline tools can “pick their engagements”- and I think that doesn’t always come out better for the graphical tools.

    JOY: I think that to make that assumption is bad. All projections that I see have memory going to $300 a megabyte by 1989. Soon the processor will be $50, and you’ll be able to use it to refresh video. There are too many good things you’ll be able to do with this stuff for it not to be available cheap. The real cost is very low. One has to wonder what software is going to be worth, too. It’s going to be produced in such enormous volume.

    When can that stuff go portable? You don’t really want to have a telephone in the office or be tied to an office. You’d like to have the office with you and the phone with you. I want to be able to turn the phone off, thank you. I think that’s going to require very different technology. […] You can then carry around with you all the software you need. You can get random data through some communications link. It is very like Dick Tracy. Have you seen these digital pagers? You can really communicate digital information on a portable.

    This is 23 years before the iPhone, mind you.

    And then that paragraph about how it doesn’t matter what is possible so much as what people believe is possible.

    I’d love to see an update on that interview. What panned out, what didn’t - and why.

    1. 3

      Here’s a great talk from Bill Joy from a bit later (2000) for those interested

      1. 2

        This is a fascinating line:

        I think the wonderful thing about vi is that it has such a good market share because we gave it away. Everybody has it now. So it actually had a chance to become part of what is perceived as basic UNIX. EMACS is a nice editor too, but because it costs hundreds of dollars, there will always be people who won’t buy it.

        1. 1

          I guess this was referring to the version of Emacs that preceded GNU Emacs.

          1. 3

            Yes, he’s referring to Gosling Emacs.

        2. 1

          The fundamental problem with vi is that it doesn’t have a mouse and therefore you’ve got all these commands.