In the Beginning ...Was the Command Line

151 pages

English language

Published Jan. 4, 1999 by Avon Books.

OCLC Number:

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4 stars (7 reviews)

This is "the Word" -- one man's word, certainly -- about the art (and artifice) of the state of our computer-centric existence. And considering that the "one man" is Neal Stephenson, "the hacker Hemingway" (Newsweek) -- acclaimed novelist, pragmatist, seer, nerd-friendly philosopher, and nationally bestselling author of groundbreaking literary works (Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon, etc., etc.) -- the word is well worth hearing. Mostly well-reasoned examination and partial rant, Stephenson's In the Beginning...was the Command Line is a thoughtful, irreverent, hilarious treatise on the cyber-culture past and present; on operating system tyrannies and downloaded popular revolutions; on the Internet, Disney World, Big Bangs, not to mention the meaning of life itself.

6 editions

Review of 'In the Beginning ...Was the Command Line' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

If I had read this in 1999 I probably would have installed BeOS the next day instead of SUSE Linux, which I was knee deep in at the time. Even if BeOS is now long gone, the author had it right about OSes tending to become free, and it appears to live on as the open source Haiku. This is still a good introduction to these kind of dramas, even if the companies involved have since shifted positions. And it's a fine ode to the command line, which still holds strong under the hood, where I continue to work with it daily. Here's to the TTY!


  • Besturingssystemen
  • Operating systems (Computers)