The Bourne Confusion

Have you seen The ‘The Bourne Ultimatum‘ yet? What do you think when you see the title? Tragically my mind immediately jumps to the Bourne Shell, the default command shell on most Unix variants since the late seventies1.

Of course this isn’t the first time that this has happened. When I saw the title ‘The Bourne Supremacy‘ I though, “Yeah, why would anyone use the C Shell?!” Clearly Bourne and its work-a-likes are supreme for scripting even if the original Joy-authored C Shell was better for interactive tasks.

Similarly, in the first movie the focus seemed to be on this guy Jason Bourne. I was thinking, “No, you’re thinking of Stephen Bourne.” And it’s AT&T Bell Labs, not the CIA.

I really shouldn’t let this kind of thing get in the way of a good film, but it’s not like us Unix guys really get much of a choice. So I’m going to end this piece with a plea: don’t end up like me. Don’t let your choice of computing platform get in the way of your movie viewing.

  1. A quick aside for the less technical readers. A “shell” is the kind of the file manager you use to interact with your computer. The Macintosh has the Finder; Windows has the Explorer; the Linux has the “Bourne Again Shell,” bad pun and derivation and enhancement of the original Bourne version. []