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Interviews: Ask Tim O'Reilly About a Life Steeped In Technology 39

Today's interview guest is literally a household name: If you look at the shelves in nearly any programmer's house, developer shop or hackerspace, you'll probably see a stretch of books from O'Reilly Media (or O'Reilly & Associates, depending on how old the books are). Tim O'Reilly started out publishing a few technical manuals in the late '70s, branching from there into well-received technical reference and instructional books, notably ones covering open source languages and operating systems (how many people learned to install and run a new OS from Matt Walsh's Running Linux?), but neither Tim O'Reilly nor the company has gotten stuck in one place for long. As a publisher, he was early to make electronic editions available, in step with the increasing capabilities of electronic readers. Make Magazine (later spun off as part of Maker Media, which also produces Maker Faires around the world) started as an O'Reilly project; the company's conferences like OSCON, Fluent, and this year's Solid are just as much a manifestation of O'Reilly's proclivity for spreading knowledge as the books are, and those are only part of the picture, being joined with seminars, video presentations, and more. Tim O'Reilly is often hailed as a futurist and an activist (he was an early proponent of 3-D printing and hardware hacking, and a loud voice for patent reform) and he's got his eye on trends from global (how the Internet functions) to more personal -- like ways that physical goods can be produced, customized, and networked. So please go ahead and ask O'Reilly about what it's been like to be a publisher of paper books in an ever-more electronic world, as well as a visionary in the world of DIY and fabrication, or anything else on your mind. As usual, ask as many questions as you'd like, but please, one per post.
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Interviews: Ask Tim O'Reilly About a Life Steeped In Technology

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  • by globaljustin ( 574257 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @03:26PM (#47608783) Journal

    Mr. O'Reilly it's really cool that you're taking the time to answer our questions. Thanks much!

    My question: How can we make categorically better coding instruction books? What's the next step? I mean coding or programming in the general sense. Here on slashdot, the consensus is that the best coding language "depends on the job." In that environment, most coding tasks involve using an IDE and then editing specific parts of a codebase by hand. The language is a conduit to transfer information/instructions. Is there a way to instruct someone in the skills to find the right command quickly for most situations, regardless of coding language?

    So much of a coder's time is spent searching through stacks of code books **just to find "how to do..." one thing** they know they language can do, in my experience.

    Thanks again.

It's a poor workman who blames his tools.