Discovering the beauty of Unix operating systems

I have a confession to make: I follow nerdy news articles and comments on Hacker News. There, I have said it.

Once I came across a beautiful description someone wrote on how he/she came to discover the unix operating system. I can relate to this, both the discovery and the feeling. Read on:

Working in the financial mines of the bank kingdoms in my youth, I discovered Unix. It lived in grey boxes and spoke in grunts like cd and pwd in black windows. It didn’t have shiny buttons and easy-grip handles and didn’t like to dialog box. It worked tirelessly in the cold rooms of the machines. Legend had it that you could depend on it if your life depended on it. Most people didn’t go in those rooms. Some who went only did enough to get the job done. But I felt different. I thought once you opened its shell, there was a lot that it could say and lot one could learn. I found an old book containing its language and started to say the words to see if that worked. And it did. It spoke in the most beautiful 80-column voice and answered only what you needed and no more. We communicated and our chats grew longer – almost like scripts in a play.

Decades have passed and it has gone beyond the cold rooms to our warm pockets. It still works tirelessly. You can still depend on it. It has changed its shape and wears colours if you want it to. But deep down, I know it to have the same kernel of truth. If you want to talk to it in those ancient grunts, it will still answer back. And that to me still is the most beautiful language.

noisy_boy on hacker news