Power, Control Structures, and Open Source

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My first encounter with computers

As a child, I perceived the world to be a pretty cold place filled with control structures—similar to the movie Tron. These control structures also seemed to be pretty imbalanced. When I was about 7 years old, I remember being at a local department store that had personal computers on display. They were powered up and each of them presented passing shoppers with an intimidating black screen, broken only by these white characters:


I didn’t understand what it meant, or in retrospect, how this would sell computers. There were keyboards connected to each computer. I knew what they did from watching TV, so I hit a few keys. Characters began displaying across the screen and I soon discovered that you could also hit the “enter” key and the screen would change. It appeared that the computer was trying to interpret the words I was typing, but it refused to do anything except display the words

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