SiliconBeat has a nice piece on how Stanford is the center of innovation, and how it attracts a lot of money, and produces entrepreneurs who start companies like Cisco Systems, Yahoo and Google. No wonder with such rich alumni, they are piping Harvard to the post when it comes to fund raising. I wanted to juxtapose this with the other Bay area university, University of California, Berkeley. While, that university has not produced as many mega-billion dollar companies (though Inktomi once was just that, and now is reduced to a foot note in search history), to my mind the role of Berkeley and its long term impact cannot be underscored. Just to clarify, I did not attend the two universities (and perhaps would not even be admitted to either one!) Think of it just a reminder, an isn’t it interesting quip.
I clearly see it as the leader in open source projects that have changed the world. BSD, the software that led to OS-X which makes my life better as an Apple user is one such product. Other projects that changed the world and came from the East Bay are email server Sendmail and DNS, the very bed rock of our Internet. There was the Berkeley DB. In more recent days, SETI@Home and Predictor@Home have come from Berkeley; and so has TinyOS, the open source operating system for wireless sensor networks. In this Salon piece on Sendmail author Eric Allman, Andrew Leonard writes,
“Allman’s creation, and later distribution, of sendmail did fit in naturally with the glorious hacking tradition of the computer science department at Berkeley — where mucking around with the innards of the Unix operating system was long considered, if not a God-given right, then at the very least a cherished responsibility.”