Command Line Heroes is an original podcast from Red Hat. In each episode, host Saron Yitbarek narrates the epic tales of the people who attempt the extraordinary and persevere against all odds. Episodes feature historians, experts, and guests who give their first-hand recollections of the big moments or influential people who changed the world of technology. Past seasons have covered topics like the history of open source and current trends in technology. In a category dominated by interview and conversation-based podcasts, Command Line Heroes is a highly produced, scripted show. It stands out from most other tech shows—especially from a brand.
2020 was a tumultuous year that brought our society’s inequalities in stark relief. Despite its capacity for social advancement, the tech industry has been and continues to be particularly problematic in this area. So we decided to make the most of our platform. Rather than only point out the issues of inequality in our industry, we crafted Season 6 to also be a celebration of Black inventors in the tech industry who haven’t quite gotten their due. While still highlighting the struggles they had to overcome to succeed, we aimed to add their contributions to our shared history.
Our goals for the podcast were to:
Educate listeners about open source development;
Provide historical context for tech trends;
Explore the tools developers use every day;
Highlight the Black inventors who have influenced tech history
Command Line Heroes isn’t a commercial. Instead, it covers topics that are important to software developers and the open source community. To better understand what our audience cares about, we speak to people around the globe and conduct informal interviews. By talking to our audience one on one, we’re able to create content that they truly want to listen to.
The Black Lives Matter movement prompted us to look inward—what was missing from Command Line Heroes? What role could it play, even in the most minor of ways, in using its platform to highlight the issues of diversity in the tech industry? We partnered with our internal diversity and inclusion community to find and write stories about Black innovators—and more specifically, Black innovators in the tech industry. We made it our mission to feature people whose stories weren’t widely shared, despite their colossal influence on the tech industry.
The 8 inventors we covered made it possible to work together across the internet, safely land on the moon, and so much more.
In each episode, host Saron Yitbarek explores the lives and inventions of these 8 Black technologists. We interviewed the inventors whenever possible, their families, and coworkers. But these stories were not easy to find, research, or produce. And in the spirit of open source communities, and to do what we can to amplify Black stories, we’re releasing the transcripts of our interviews with our guests for others to use.
We sought to provide something that other tech podcasts in our category usually don’t: a highly produced show that goes beyond how-tos and latest news. It offers a fresh look at the histories behind the technologies people use every day—and tells the often unheard stories of those who made that technology possible.
Episodes don’t stand alone—we develop a whole ecosystem of content to support them, with more information for those who wish to learn more than what the episodes cover. These include blogs, newsletters, our guests’ contact information, videos, and other related web pages. The podcast promotes open source, without pushing or selling Red Hat’s products.
After six seasons and 43 episodes, Command Line Heroes has:
Over 1,200,000 unique listeners
Over 2,800,000 downloads
Audience retention of over 75% through the end of each episode
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