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Thank you to the author of this post, and to the nice comments here :) The story is well researched. There are a couple of errors and a few things to add maybe. I'll fill the gaps in this comment.

1. After the TI99/4A, that is indeed the first machine I used, I started to write serious code in a ZX Spectrum. Then, a few years later, I received my first MS-DOS machine: make sure to Google it if you are not from Italy, it was an Olivetti PC1 Prodest, the most strange MS-DOS compatible system EVER.

2. In Milan I was not fired, I quit myself to return in Sicily.

3. When I posted my first message in BUGTRAQ, it was davidw (https://news.ycombinator.com/user?id=davidw) that helped me.

4. It was often said that the MERZ port was for Alessia Merz stupidity. This is wrong: we liked the showgirl (I and my friend Oscar), and we liked the fact she replied lightly in the TV shows, she just tried to have fun, and for us this resonated with having fun while programming stuff without a purpose: in short HackValue. That's why the Redis port is MERZ on the phone keyboard.

5. It is true that for many months I continued hacking on Redis even if I didn't receive so great feedbacks, but back then one rarely hacked on OSS software hoping for success or money as a main outcome. It was just that day-to-day jobs mostly sucked, and you wanted something better, more interesting to hack on. At least for many of us the drive was just that. So I continued hacking on Redis even when it surpassed by a lot our LLOOGG needs.

6. The first design sketch of the Twitter Redis-based timeline cache was made by Rob Pointer (the author of the eggrdrop IRC bot!) and myself at Twitter HQ, on some random whiteboard.

7. WOHPE turned out to be one of the most read sci-fi books in Italy, among the ones written by Italian sci-fi authors in recent years. Initially the readers were mostly programmers but now a lot of sci-fi enthusiasts are reading it. It's very strange that certain things written in the book now are becoming real fears, or even happened. For instance multiple readers of the English edition believe that this is likely the first accurate description of "prompt engineer": https://twitter.com/antirez/status/1635022116654563334

8. Now I'm writing a new book but also programming again. I hope to continue with both the activities in parallel.

@antirez I'm the author of the post. It's a privilege to see your comment here. Thank you so much for the comment, and of course, Redis!

Sorry about those errors. I've fixed them in the story.

A follow-up question about Twitter if you don't mind: did you actually fly to Twitter HQ in California and design the timeline cache with Rob Pointer, who was a Twitter employee at the time? How did that happen?

A big thank you, eliangcs. The errors were minimal, you did an awesome research work, and identified, I believe, the truly important things that step by step lead to the creation of my programming background and Redis. Another comment here replied even better than me the Twitter HQ meeting. I believe who invited me even this first time to visit the Twitter offices, and later invited me again multiple times, was Yao Yue.

See my other comment, but yes, we met with antirez at Twitter HQ (on 3rd and Folsom at the time).


First off, I work in the web hosting industry- WordPress specifically- and Redis is used along with https://objectcache.pro and https://relay.so/ to make WordPress faster. Thank you for that.

Second, I just read the first chapter of WOHPE on Amazon. Wow. I have wanted to write Hard SciFi for a long time, but I've realized that I'm just not a fiction writer. You on the other hand are, sir. I'm going to see if I can get a print-on-demand version of the book.

And for others here:


Read the first chapter. Then buy the book. Seriously.

Thank you so much, both for using Redis and for trying reading Wohpe.

I never saw a sample of the print on demand version of the English translation of Wohpe. I hope they print it properly. With the Italian version, we tried hard to provide a physical book that was of high quality, but shipping to US was impossibile from Italy.

Is it possible to get an English ebook or print version that isn't through Amazon? I loved the sample.

Unfortunately we printed only the Italian version :( Sorry. It very impractical to print the English version from italy and sell it from here, and finding an US publisher was out of my abilities: I've zero contacts.

Even an ebook in English that's not Amazon/Kindle would be great. I'm happy to pay for an epub or other format.

It should be available here, if you don't want Kindle. This will just let you download a DRM-free ePub file: https://www.ibs.it/wohpe-ebook-inglese-salvatore-sanfilippo/...

Otherwise drop me an email at antirez - gmail dot com if you have troubles finding it.

After Amazon refused to sell it to me for unspecified region reasons, I bought it from IBS. Thanks for making it available from a non-monopolist!

Thank you. That link is perfect :)

What host do you work for?

(6) Robey* Pointer, and I was the third guy in the room… We had already chosen the Yahoo! “Feeding Frenzy” design at that point, had started the design using Redis based on experience I gained at an previous company, and were working out the data structures using what was available in Redis, as I recall. We put together a few PRs against Redis shortly thereafter to make Redis a practical option for Haplocheirus in production.

There’s more to say of course, but we appreciated having these sorts of conversations with upstream authors of software we adopted at Twitter whenever possible.

Thank you so much for this comment! Exactly, the chat was mostly a validation thing. And I remember that even back then we had identified an idea that went into the Twitter fork of Redis very soon (implemented by Yao maybe?), and later into official Redis itself: lists with many collapsed elements per node.

Thanks for laying the groundwork for us with Redis!

Before I moved on to working on our Ruby VM, I was doing the work on our Redis fork for Haplo. Robey was working on the routing middleware in Scala.

Yao would have taken over from me when the cache team sprang into existence around that same time, with the emergence of twemproxy and twemcache. Most anything written in C would eventually land on her team.

Indeed, great article. My first startup had a Telecom-Italia web project (via HP) around 2005. We possibly overlapped.

I've since launched 3 long-running apps on Redis. Five-nines and Fast. Much indebted to your work.

[̲̅T̲̅][̲̅h̲̅][̲̅a̲̅][̲̅n̲̅][̲̅k̲̅][̲̅ ̲̅][̲̅Y̲̅][̲̅o̲̅][̲̅u̲̅]

Good to hear! I've worked with Steve B who took on maintainership of Jim Tcl, and have worked pretty extensively with some Linux based embedded systems that he developed that use it extensively. I was surprised to see (way back when I first looked into it) that you had started it, having been familiar with Redis at the time! We eventually started using Redis in some of those systems (control for satellite tracking antenna systems) as well, to share status and config information between different units on the same antenna.

Awesome story, thank you!

Eggdrop IRC bot, there's a blast from the past. I bet he has some incredible stories of his own from early Internet days.

Thanks for Redis and all your other contributions.

Thank you for creating Redis! How did it feel working for (and not owning) a company created around your work?

Thank you for Redis! We used it at the office at a startup I worked at. It never failed. Even when it was a single node. Whenever there was a problem with the app we never thought: “oh it must be redis” it was always something else.

It’s amazing and thank you to the author of the post for this history.

I’ll check out the English translation of your book. All the best!

> Olivetti PC1 Prodest

They have it in the Centre for computing history in Cambridge. Well worth the visit. https://www.computinghistory.org.uk/det/15452/Olivetti-PC1-P...

Thank you for Redis, and for sharing your story with this article's author. Your artistic view of programming resonates strongly with me and I look forward to reading your books!

The TI99/4A was awesome. My parents seen my interest in computing and got my the FORTH cartilage for it. It was a fun little machine.

I still haven't quite forgiven them for that.

Great story! I got my start on a TI-99/4A and I've been hooked on writing software ever since. Not yet famous for any of my toils, though. :)

On #8... what's the new book about? I'd probably read anything you wrote but super curious.

The new book? still a secret :D

You are the only programmer I admire! Redis is elegant, simple and useful.

Those Olivetti were sold by Singer also in Portugal.

Thank you for dump1090!

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