10 Years of Git: An Interview with Git Creator Linus Torvalds

AtlassianGit10year

Linux.com reminds us that git is celebrating its 10th birthday this year.  An interview with git creator Linus Torvalds sheds some light on to how and why it happened, and how long it took.

You can actually see how it all took shape in the git source code repository, except for the very first day or so. It took about a day to get to be “self-hosting” so that I could start committing things into git using git itself, so the first day or so is hidden, but everything else is there. The work was clearly mostly during the day, but there’s a few midnight entries and a couple of 2 a.m. ones. The most interesting part is how quickly it took shape ; the very first commit in the git tree is not a lot of code, but it already did the basics – enough to commit itself. The trick wasn’t really so much the coding but coming up with how it organizes the data.

So I’d like to stress that while it really came together in just about ten days or so (at which point I did my first *kernel* commit using git), it wasn’t like it was some kind of mad dash of coding. The actual amount of that early code is actually fairly small, it all depended on getting the basic ideas right.

Very impressive!

And, of course: HAPPY BIRTHDAY GIT!  The world is a much better place with you.

The Secrets of the FBI by Ronald Kessler

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The Secrets of the FBI” is the second audio book by Ronald Kessler that I’ve listened to.  I enjoyed it much more than “In the President’s Secret Service“.  This one covers the history of the FBI in much more detail, and provides both insider’s perspective and a bird’s eye view of how the FBI was created, evolved and got the where it is now.

One thing that I found very interesting was how much an impact each of the directors had on the development of the FBI, and how different these were.   Also, descriptions of technology evolution in the FBI were particularly interesting to me.  The state of the computeres by the 9/11 was especially depressing.  I nearly couldn’t believe what I was hearing…

Overall, I’d recommend this book to anyone interested in law enforcement history, government projects, and special tactical units.

What is the shortest and most effective code ever written?

Quora runs the question, that by now has plenty of awesome answers.  But this one is my favorite so far:

The ‘true’ program in Unix from the 1970s was an empty file. The shell interpreted that as a shell script which ran and resulted in no error status, so the result was zero. Zero is the shell exit code value that represents ‘success’ or ‘true’ within if and while clauses.

So, no program can be shorter than that. And it was entirely effective at meeting its specification.

False was much longer, being

exit 1

Once lawers got in, both programs were sullied with plenty of copyrights. BSD also eventually established a format for identifying shell scripts explicitly, and those codes got added to the file too. Eventually, ‘true’ stretched to hundreds of bytes of copyrights on top of the shell script format intro code. Now, annoyingly, Linux and Mac OS have made it a compiled binary program. In Ubuntu, it is a 22K binary with an 18K code size. Ugh.

At least writing a correct C program for true can be very short. It is one of the few C programs that should require no #include files, and can be simply:

int main(void){return 0;}

Of course make sure to add lots of copyright notices.

Battle scars: How the first world war changed the world

Geography changed too. After the war the Treaty of Versailles carved out new countries from what remained of the old pre-war empires. Independence was granted to the Baltic states, which had been handed to Germany in 1918 as part of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, which ended Russian involvement in the first world war. Poland was reconstituted from former Russian, German and Austro-Hungarian territories, and Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and a larger Romania were created.

Check the link for the cool swipe map overlay.