July 20–24, 2015
Portland, OR

It's metaphors all the way down

Brian Proffitt (Red Hat)
10:40am–11:20am Wednesday, 07/22/2015
Craft E145
Average rating: ****.
(4.75, 8 ratings)
Slides:   1-PDF 

Prerequisite Knowledge

Anyone with an interest in technology and how it all fits together is very welcome at this presentation.


Everything we do in technology—operating systems, applications, systems administration—is based on nothing solid and real, but rather conceptualizations and ideas that we make accessible through metaphors. In fact, far from being “non-creative,” nerd-types may be among the most creative storytellers in history.

From the menus and windows of modern GUIs to the containers and jails of namespace, everything in technology is a story. Developers and engineers take the abstract language of mathematics and create concepts to which users can relate. This talk will take a humorous and thoughtful approach to telling the story about the stories IT tell. These stories will include:

  • Bob Cratchet and the spreadsheet metaphor
  • Windows, menus, and the “appification” of the modern OS
  • Pets, cattle, and new cloud stories

My hope is this talk helps people step back and understand the creativity in what we do on a daily basis, and see that the power of stories is what really drives IT.

Photo of Brian Proffitt

Brian Proffitt

Red Hat

Brian Proffitt is the community liaison for oVirt, with experience in a variety of technologies, including cloud, virtualization, and consumer devices