Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Moon landing was not the only world-changing event in the summer of '69. Nature

"The Moon landing was not the only world-changing event in the summer of '69."—Nature
Just like the rest of the press, Nature is celebrating fortieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon-landings. The editorial (Nature 460, 307 (16 July 2009) | doi:10.1038/460307a; Published online 15 July 2009) acclaims the accomplishments of the lunar mission and celebrates it for its benefits. It cross-references to an essay entitled Why we need space travel by Giovanni Bignami and a book review of The Seventh Landing: Going Back to the Moon, This Time to Stay (Springer: 2009) by Michael Carroll. It also repeats a stern warning by Richard Monastersky in Shooting for the Moon that without the motivations from programs like the lunar mission today, we might not have enough students interested in science tomorrow. However, unlike the popular media, Nature manages to keep things in perspective. The editorial also reminds us, in bold letters, that "The Moon landing was not the only world-changing event in the summer of '69."
The other "small step to man"—a new computer operating system called Unix. Nature also shows that it is in sync with the rest of the world as the editor writes "last week Google announced that it will use Linux as the base for its planned open-source 'Chrome' operating system". It also correctly and authoritatively states that "Unix, like Apollo, has earned its place in history."
Unix serves as the basis for most of the non-Windows operating system today. The latest version of Apple's Macintosh operating system, Mac OS X is a certified Unix operating system. Another major operating system is GNU/Linux (often referred to as Linux alone). Unix and Unix-like operating systems command a large market share in the server market. However, footprint remains small as far as far as workstations are concerned. According to Lynn Greiner in Linux Enterprise Market Trends (Faulkner Library; Docid: 00018885; published July 01, 2009), GNU/Linux has made some headway in the enterprise world with companies like DaimlerChrysler, Merrill Lynch, and the E*Trade Group as well as US Federal agencies like US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the US Agency for International Development.
Wondering which page to turn to to read more? Its page number 307 (according to the website). Thanks for reading me and more importantly, thanks for reading Nature.
Update (June 20, 2009 3:09 PM): An earlier version of this post missed the words "fortieth anniversary of". The error has been corrected. - Kushal

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