Wide Awake Developers

Remember DAT?

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Do you remember Digital Audio Tape? DAT was supposed to have all the advantages of digital audio—high fidelity and perfect reproduction—plus the “advantages” of tape. (Presumably those advantages did not include melting on the dashboard of your Chevy Chevelle or spontaneously turning into The Best of Queen after a fortnight.)

In hindsight, we can see that DAT was product twilight product. As the sun set on cassette, it was an attempt to bridge the discontinuous technology change to digital music production. It was a twilight product because it didn’t reimagine the existing technology to offer enough of a new advantage nor eliminate enough of the old disadvantages.

We often see such twilight products right before a major, discontinuous shift.

I think we’re in such a period when it comes to software development and deployment for cloud native systems. The products we have attempt to take the traditional model into the new environment. But they don’t yet reimagine the world of software development enough. Ten years from now, we will see that they offer some advantages but also carry forward baggage from the client-server era. (E.g., Unix-like full operating systems, coding one process at a time, treating network as a secondary concern, ignoring memory hierarchy in the languages.)

Whatever the “operating system for the cloud” is, we haven’t seen it yet.