The Bloomberg Terminal, which debuted in December 1982, is one of the computing industry’s “few truly enduring successes” alongside the PC and the Mac, writes Harry McCracken in Fast Company this week. The modern terminals, which run on Windows, have appeared in two historical exhibits this year – at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View and Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., he writes.
The technology has withstood the test of time by continuously evolving to meet the needs of financial traders – though until recently new features have been largely developed with in-house, proprietary code.
The way Bloomberg keeps up with users’ expectations is changing, however, McCracken writes. The company is adopting open source technologies such as Linux, Hadoop, and Solr and contributing code back upstream.
“We’re not at the point where we have a formal open source program, but over the last three or four years we have begun to strongly encourage developers to use open source tools to solve problems, especially if we can contribute back to those projects as well,” said Kevin Fleming, an open source evangelist in the CTO office at Bloomberg, in an interview with Linux.com earlier this year .
As our previous article noted the financial industry is on the verge of an open source breakthrough, and Bloomberg is one of the companies on the cutting edge of the trend.
See Fast Company’s story on the history of the Bloomberg Terminal.
Correction: This article incorrectly stated that the Terminal runs on Linux. Bloomberg uses and contributes to Linux, but the Terminal runs on Windows.
Watch a Linux Foundation interview with Kevin Fleming discussing how and why Bloomberg uses open source software and participates in collaborative development.