Ars on your lunch break: Sitting down with legendary publisher Tim O’Reilly

Enlarge / These probably aren’t real. But they should be. (credit: @ThePracticalDev)

After On podcast here on Ars. Our guest is tech’s preeminent publisher—as well as one of its top prognosticators—Tim O’Reilly. We’ll run this interview in three installments. You can access today’s via our embedded audio player or by reading the accompanying transcript (both of which are below).

Outsiders are often surprised by how central the dowdy medium of books has been to the tech industry. But for decades, books were the only game in town for most people wanting to keep pace with the new programming languages and skill sets tied to their jobs. O’Reilly Media has published a huge share of our world’s top books for as long as I’ve been around—even as it led the charge with ebooks, digital training, and other disruptions to its ink-on-paper legacy.

But Tim’s real mojo comes from being the industry’s convener-in-chief. For starters, his company has welcomed all paying registrants to hundreds of major conferences. Other conference series have been invitational, including Foo Camp (which is impossible to describe); SciFoo (basically Foo Camp, but for scientists); EdFoo (think SciFoo, but for educators); and many others. “Foo” stands for “Friends of O’Reilly.” And should you ever learn that you are one, accept the invitation pronto—it will rank amongst the coolest and brainiest weekends of your decade.

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