Software is like Coca-Cola
You are reading Register Spill - my weekly newsletter in which I share thoughts I can’t keep in my head.
In 1975, Andy Warhol wrote:
You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it.
I’m not entirely sure, but I think it was 2001 when I built my first website. I had somehow ended up in the after-school computer class my older sister was attending – either I talked my way into it, or our mom figured it’d be easier to pick us up together from school.
I’m not exaggerating when I say it felt like playing with fire. I was already a big fan of the Internet and now I got to play around with the stuff the Internet is made of? Probably some of the most fun and excitement I ever felt in that school building.
“So how do I show this to others?” I asked.
“You’ll need webspace and a domain probably. Then you’ll need an FTP program.” he said.
I didn’t know what any of these words meant but I somehow figured out how to get all three: 5 or 10MB of webspace, a .de.vu domain, and an FTP program.
The thrill I felt when I visited my uncle and typed my domain name into the browser’s address bar – the same browser that’s used to visit the other websites, the real ones, the ones built by large companies. That browser now showed my website! On the same Internet! Next to all the other websites!
I couldn’t believe it. “This is it?!”, I kept wondering, “I can just upload my own website and it shows up on the Internet?”
It’s been over 20 years and I still feel the same way – about websites, about the Internet, about software.
To bastardize the Warhole quote from above: software is software and no amount of money can get you a better piece of software than the one the bum on the corner uploaded to GitHub.
All you need is a computer and an internet connection. No degree, no entry fee, no test you need to pass. Start typing and push it out into the world. Your software will sit next to the greats. There is no room that you don’t have access to in which the Linux kernel, or Redis, or Neovim are being built. It’s the same computers, the same internet connection, the same tools that you have access to.
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