The computer industry has gone through a sea change in the past few years. The killer applications of the web era turned out not to be PC-based software packages like the web browser, but web hosted applications like google, mapquest and amazon.com. These applications are built on top of Linux and Apache, yet they are themselves fiercely proprietary. But what would most developers do with their source code? These massive systems are valuable for their data as much as for their programs. And by opening up XML web services APIs to that data, the most innovative of these sites are creating new opportunities for hackers to re-use that data and "scratch their own itch." What's more, as constantly updated services, these applications operate on very different timelines and processes than conventional software development. One of the greatest challenges for developers in the next few years is to understand and adapt to the paradigm shift implicit in network computing, and to shed the legacy thinking of the desktop era.
Tim O'Reilly is founder and president of O'Reilly & Associates, thought by many to be the best computer book publisher in the world. In addition to publishing pioneering books like Ed Krol's The Whole Internet User's Guide & Catalog (selected by the New York Public Library as one of the most significant books of the twentieth century), O'Reilly has also been a pioneer in the popularization of the Internet. O'Reilly's Global Network Navigator site (GNN, which was sold to America Online in September 1995) was the first Web portal and the first true commercial site on the World Wide Web.
Tim has been an activist for internet standards and for Open Source software. He has led successful public relations campaigns on behalf of key internet technologies, helping to block Microsoft's 1996 limits on TCP/IP in NT Workstation, organizing the "summit" of key free software leaders where the term "Open Source" was first widely agreed upon, and, most recently, organizing a series of protests against frivolous software patents. Tim received Infoworld's Industry Achievement Award in 1998 for his advocacy on behalf of the Open Source community.