Unix web apps
November 10, 2009 4:49 PM   Subscribe

A two parter: 1. I remember reading a quote by someone along the lines of 'every new 'killer web app' is a unix app. google=grep; facebook=wall; etc. Can you help me find this please? 2. Now that you grok the idea, can you tell me more analogs of unix vs web apps? Which unix apps are yet to be made webby? Which have been, but badly implemented? Which are your favorite unix apps? Etc.
posted by yegga to Computers & Internet (20 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Marc Hedlund, via Kottke.
posted by callmejay at 4:58 PM on November 10, 2009

Instant messenger = talk
Facebook = finger
posted by benzenedream at 5:11 PM on November 10, 2009

hmmm. twitter = syslogd?

I have many favorite unix apps, but one that I have a particular fondness for is "tee". When I was leaning unix (Sun OS 4.1.3, I think it was) one of the first things I learned about was the "pipe" metaphor. At some point, I wanted to view the output of a certain process but also save the output to a file. "Kinda like a 'T' connection in plumbing," I thought. I had also just learned about "man", so I tried "man tee" and lo, there it was.

I don't think I used it much more than that one time (GNU tail supports the "follow" flag, which works just as well) but I got quite a thrill out of it at the time.
posted by lex mercatoria at 5:13 PM on November 10, 2009

Response by poster: yes callmejay, exactly that link.

ok mefi, let loose with the unix-web!
posted by yegga at 5:15 PM on November 10, 2009

Response by poster: The comments on Hedlund's post are good.
posted by yegga at 5:20 PM on November 10, 2009

chown: ebay.com


Or maybe Twitter is cat.
posted by GuyZero at 5:26 PM on November 10, 2009

metafilter = /dev/random

I keed
posted by axiom at 5:28 PM on November 10, 2009

metafilter = top
posted by lex mercatoria at 5:30 PM on November 10, 2009 [2 favorites]

Hrm, want:

cron / at

Not sure:

posted by cmiller at 5:38 PM on November 10, 2009

rcs/cvs/etcetera = archive.org
posted by roystgnr at 6:07 PM on November 10, 2009

sed is probably greasemonkey
find is google
wget is keepvid.com or similar sites.
screen is VMware Virtual Desktop or VNC

cron/at could be a worthwhile product. The only thing like that now that can think of are sites like futureme or lettermelater.
posted by fings at 6:32 PM on November 10, 2009

perl = myspace. Ugly, out of fashion, and barely useable.

I kid!

The facebook app that lets you set your twitter status and facebook status at the same time is kind of like tee.
posted by cj_ at 6:42 PM on November 10, 2009

Also, OpenID is kinda like Kerberos? Admittedly, stretching this metaphor a bit.
posted by cj_ at 6:46 PM on November 10, 2009

Twitter's kind of a variation on wall.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 7:01 PM on November 10, 2009

dropbox is a little like rsync
posted by nihraguk at 8:17 PM on November 10, 2009

cron/at is EC2 and/or AppEngine.
posted by GuyZero at 9:13 PM on November 10, 2009

I've always thought of Facebook apps as similar to BBS doors.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:13 PM on November 10, 2009

Google is closer to locate than to find.

Gmail/Hotmail/etc are mail, obviously.

The MMORPG of the moment is nethack. ;)

Things like ReStructuredText, Textile, wiki markup, etc., are kinda like *roff.

What we still don't have is an analog to the ur-command, sh. Yahoo Pipes is a stab in that direction, I think. Most websites aren't designed to work together, unfortunately— they're more like pre-Unix commands which have to try to do everything poorly because they can't coöperate.

Commands I'd like to see: diff, make, script.
posted by hattifattener at 10:20 PM on November 10, 2009

archive.org is tar
wikipedia is like man
openid is NIS/yellow pages

facebook is the new zypher (from the Athena Unix Platform), that brings back some memories.
posted by cftarnas at 10:57 PM on November 10, 2009

Hmm, javascript seems to be the perl/sed/awk/sh that holds together lots of the webpages as well.
posted by cftarnas at 11:04 PM on November 10, 2009

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