Blog System/5 is my new Substack publication in which I write about the variety of software and systems engineering topics that pique my interest. If that sounds too generic to you, it’s because it is: there are too many cool things to write about!

But in particular, I’ll be covering:

  • operating systems, including the BSDs, Linux, macOS and maybe Windows;

  • build systems, which mostly means Bazel;

  • programming languages, including Rust and shell (talk about opposites!);

  • and general engineering practices to build sustainable, high-quality systems.

My essays are based on my day-to-day professional experiences at Google as an SRE in the storage stack and SWE in Blaze; Microsoft as an SDE in Azure Storage; and Snowflake as a SWE in developer productivity. But also, these essays are based on my own side projects like EndBASIC or shtk, and on my distant past contributions to FreeBSD, NetBSD and Gnome.

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But why?

You may have read my blog at (this site), which is still alive and kicking, so what’s up with this newsletter? Doesn’t the introduction above sound exactly like what my blog is about?

Well… yeah, but I want to run an experiment. Growing the readership of my home-grown blog has been extremely hard: some of my articles occasionally end up in the Hacker News front page, but those only result in one-off traffic spikes with no recurrent engagement, which is a tad sad. I’ve witnessed other authors build nice communities around their publications in Substack, so I want to check first-hand how this platform helps achieve those goals.

My tentative plan is to post new articles here first and then re-post them to my personal blog a few days later. The reasons for this structure are two: first, because I want to own my content long-term; and, second, because I do not want to force you all to subscribe to Substack if you don’t want to: the usual RSS and email subscription mechanism will continue to work.

But… I can imagine sending you some “fresh” content that wouldn’t really fit as a long-form blog article, but I’m not sure yet. So, we’ll see.

What’s in the name?

It’s weird, isn’t it? Where does it come from? Simply put, I like original blog titles that refer to technology products or concepts, so I wanted one like those too. OS/2 Warp 3 was the alternate operating system that led me into my adventure away from Windows and towards great outcomes back in 1995, so Blog System/5 pays a tribute to that even if I likely won’t be blogging about OS/2 at all.

So what about the 5? As it turns out, this is the fifth (I think) iteration of my blog. Going back almost 20 years, my writing journey started in LiveJournal, then moved onto Blogger, then onto a brief stint with Medium, then onto my self-hosted site, and then onto here. If this experiment goes sideways… well, I’ll just keep the title and number for the blog. I like odd numbers.

What’s next?

Easy. You subscribe now and you receive my detailed recap of BazelCon 2023 as soon as I finish writing it in the next few days. Plus, of course, you’ll also receive all future articles and maybe we can build a community around those topics. Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts along the way!