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The World's Best Living Programmers

timothy posted about three weeks ago | from the yeah-but-do-you-have-his-rookie-card? dept.

Programming 285

itwbennett (1594911) writes "How do you measure success? If it's by Stack Overflow reputation, Google engineer Jon Skeet is the world's best programmer. If it's winning programming competitions, Gennady Korotkevich or Petr Mitrechev might be your pick. But what about Linus Torvalds? Or Richard Stallman? Or Donald Knuth? ITworld's Phil Johnson has rounded up a list of what just might be the world's top 14 programmers alive today."

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285 comments

How about the world's best turds? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47406877)

11/12/2013: Tried 45 minutes grunting for something the size and shape of a tennis ball. Did not try it to see if it bounced. Blood in the TP. Roughly 2.6â diameter.

11/20/2013: Rolling dump from last nightâ(TM)s hot dogs and creamed corn. Smelled like anchovies for some reason. Havenâ(TM)t had anchovies in two weeks. WTF? 11â Ã-- 2.25â

11/30/2013: One day after Thanksgiving dinner. I was stuffed like a turkey. Unchewed lima beans, corn kernels present. 15â Ã-- 2.1â

12/02/2013: Likely from all the popcorn and hummus yesterday. Felt like I was passing mashed potatoes mixed with crushed eggshells. I should chew more. Light brown, smelled like Elmerâ(TM)s Glue with a hint of garlic. 12â Ã-- 2â

12/12/2013: Loved the zhÅxiÄgÄo I ordered the other day. Pork blood turns purple in your poop. Smelled like a womenâ(TM)s restroom. 9â Ã-- 1.75â

12/17/2013: A semi-solid mess from a large dinner of clams and pasta in olive oil sauce. Smelled like old seafood in a hot dumpster. Black and brown. 8â x 1.5â

12/24/2013: X marks the spot! Crapped identical twin turds in anticipation of Christmas. Long, light brown, smelled like regular old poop. Probably from the entire loaf of French bread I had the other day. 10â Ã-- 2â

12/26/2013: Oh my god. This one smelled, felt, and looked like a greased pig. Doubtless from my Christmas ham. Huge floater, thought it might jump out. 13â Ã-- 2.4â

01/01/2013: Reeks like rotten cabbage from last nightâ(TM)s sauerkraut. The thing was literally the same size and shape as a Colt M1991A Officer's Model. Wouldnâ(TM)t go down, was in so much pain I threw the fucker out the window.

Re: How about the world's best turds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407089)

Lol! Damn why'd you have to copy and paste from Word and ruin the formatting? Very well written, though.

Re:How about the world's best turds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407305)

Wow this made me laugh harder than it should've, i guess. Posting as AC because you well deserved my Funny mod, even despite the gross encoding failure

Re:How about the world's best turds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407589)

Nice, but you forgot to increment the year in your last journal entry. IBS?

No exhaustive.. (5, Funny)

tobe (62758) | about three weeks ago | (#47406883)

.. since I'm not in it.

Re:No exhaustive.. (2)

SQLGuru (980662) | about three weeks ago | (#47406935)

That was my thought. I'm too busy writing real code (and posting on Slashdot) to be on their list.

Re:No exhaustive.. (5, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about three weeks ago | (#47407021)

For others that are too busy to click through the slideshow, here is the list:

Jon Skeet : Legendary Stack Overflow contributor
Gennady Korotkevich : Competitive programming prodigy
Linus Torvalds : Creator of Linux
Jeff Dean : The brains behind Google search indexing
John Carmack : Creator of Doom
Richard Stallman : Creator of Emacs, GCC
Petr Mitrechev : One of the top competitive programmers of all time
Fabrice Bellard : Creator of QEMU
Doug Cutting : Creator of Lucene
Donald Knuth : Author of The Art of Computer Programming
Anders Hejlsberg : Creator of Turbo Pascal
Ken Thompson : Creator of Unix
Adam D'Angelo : Co-founder of Quora
Sanjay Ghemawat : Key Google architect

Re:No exhaustive.. (0, Troll)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about three weeks ago | (#47407111)

Please add Noah Haders to your list: Sex God. Also, I've never heard of QEMU, Lucene. Also, why is Quora on the list? That's weird.

Re:No exhaustive.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407173)

QEMU is just one of Fabrice Bellard's brilliant hacks, dating back to LZEXE. He's a phenomenal programmer.

Re:No exhaustive.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407371)

Why is Adam D'Angelo (Quora) on the list? That's weird.

Extremely weird, like if we'd been naming fruits... apple, banana, pear, Volkswagen, grapes, cherries...

Some of the picks I agree with (Fabrice Bellard, John Carmack), some of them I don't have a problem with (Skeet, Dean), and some of them were really like "WTF?!?!?" When I saw "Adam D'Angelo of Quora" I was like, "OK so Adam's mom must have compiled this list". By the way, where is Stroustrup, Pike, etc.

Not exhaustive as it misses some big names... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407253)

Marissa Mayer former innovator at Google and now CEO of Yahoo. She is well known for making Google Maps useful.
Brian Kernighan co-inventor of C.
Bjarne Stroustrup inventor of C++.

I would put a few of my picks above some of the names on that list.

Re:No exhaustive.. (5, Insightful)

SirGeek (120712) | about three weeks ago | (#47407325)

Ken Thompson - Also creator of the C Programming Language.

Adam D'Angelo?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407493)

Seriously this guy isn't anywhere near most of the rest of the list.

Re:No exhaustive.. (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about three weeks ago | (#47407543)

Tony Hoare deserves to be on that list.

Re:No exhaustive.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47406985)

.. since I'm not in it.

actually it is sweet 16, not 14, adding u and me to it.

Re:No exhaustive.. (2)

gnupun (752725) | about three weeks ago | (#47407141)

Every good programmer's genius goes towards uplifting his/her manager, his middle manager, his department, his company etc., but rarely the programmer himself. Since the company claims all credit, ownership and benefits of any code developed, no one knows who is responsible for what. So this list is a joke.

Do we know who exactly came up with the concept for Donkey Kong? Many companies hide such info because they don't want the talented programmer to get poached by another company. But still, they should release such information 10-15 years after a product is released.

Re:No exhaustive.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407249)

Exactly why I want to work for myself once I can afford to. I've been behind a small number of decent success stories and ZERO of them have my name attached to them. I'm too busy coding and working to maintain my PR in the community.

Re:No exhaustive.. (4, Informative)

RavenLrD20k (311488) | about three weeks ago | (#47407603)

Do we know who exactly came up with the concept for Donkey Kong?

Actually, yes we do. Donkey Kong [wikipedia.org] was the first project by Shigeru Miyamoto. In fact, this was also the first appearance of Miyamoto's Mario character that has been continually reused ever since.

Re:No exhaustive.. (2)

tobiasly (524456) | about three weeks ago | (#47407279)

"No exhaustive"? I think you meant: !exhaustive

Re:No exhaustive.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407487)

If you aren't arrogant enough to think you are the worlds best programmer (which is to say, to believe that you are me), then you aren't a real programmer.

Nah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47406885)

Too narrow focus.

perhaps 'talented' or 'skilled' would be better? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47406887)

To me, 'best' implies a moral grounding in addition to raw skill. WHAT, precisely, is this talent being used FOR? Being skilled at programming and then turning around to use it to game entire stock markets so that the individual profits at the expense of entire nations... isn't 'best' in my book, even if it's very clever and skillful.

Re:perhaps 'talented' or 'skilled' would be better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407053)

There is also a lot of apples and oranges comparisons. Linux as a project is a completely different beast than Abuse, Quake, or Doom.

I would say that as of now, we are suffering from a lack of even -decent- programmers. A few years ago, the smart people would get their names on some product in a Linux distro. Now, it seems that everyone and their brother with any coding experience wants to write another iOS fleshlight app with tons of in-app purchases. Apps mean nothing for the industry as a whole, while even a small, but relevant fix on a kernel driver can be critical for millions on a day to day basis.

Re:perhaps 'talented' or 'skilled' would be better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407239)

Obviously, if they are intelligent programmers, they deal in rationality, not morality. Morality is for people who are too stupid to grok rationality.

Rock Star Economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47406891)

Where the masses need a real job to support their passion for programming and few make it big. Coming to a workplace near you.

Not sure about that (5, Funny)

maweki (999634) | about three weeks ago | (#47406893)

I think I have to contest that. Last semester I got straight As in both "Principles of programming languages" as well as "Algorithm Engineering".

Re:Not sure about that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47406983)

At what school? The Close Cover before striking, diploma mill?

Re:Not sure about that (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407009)

I think I have to contest that. Last semester I got straight As in both "Principles of programming languages" as well as "Algorithm Engineering".

Einstein and Edison were school dropouts. School performance can at the max. mean u can follow something regular, maybe u are good.
Greatness, doing something entirely different cannot be measured by schools anyway.

Memorizing and reproducing algorithms in a school exam doesn't mean u can create new algorithms not created by others on u'r own.

Re:Not sure about that (3, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | about three weeks ago | (#47407145)

It's hard to take your anti-school stance seriously while you keep misspelling "you".

Re:Not sure about that (1)

koreanbabykilla (305807) | about three weeks ago | (#47407259)

My favorite is they can't take time to spell Your, but take the time to put the fucking ' in there making it double stupid.

Re:Not sure about that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407157)

Edison was a bitch though

Re:Not sure about that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407163)

Einstein and Edison were school dropouts.

The only school Einstein dropped out of was when he was 15 and left to go be with his family who had moved from Germany to Italy. He went on to finish secondary schooling two years later after joining another school in Switzerland, then finished an undergrad degree, and then a PhD. So he completed all levels of schooling, at at most his "dropping out" resulted in him changing schools. Edison didn't attend much formal schooling as a kid, although he was home schooled and did attend courses and lectures at Cooper Union on engineering.

Memorizing and reproducing algorithms in a school exam doesn't mean u can create new algorithms not created by others on u'r own.

Just memorizing a bunch of stuff doesn't teach you much, but if you don't know the basic you end up trying to base your new ideas and arguments on falsehoods...

Re:Not sure about that (2)

jelIomizer (3670957) | about three weeks ago | (#47407381)

Just memorizing a bunch of stuff doesn't teach you much, but if you don't know the basic you end up trying to base your new ideas and arguments on falsehoods...

No one said or even implied that nothing should ever be memorized. If you had no ability to retain information at all, you couldn't do anything. There's simply far too much useless memorization going on in schools, and no focus on real understanding.

False. Einstein had a PhD from U. Zurich, top grad (4, Informative)

raymorris (2726007) | about three weeks ago | (#47407429)

Just FYI, that's quite false. Einstein passed his Matura (high school graduation exam), then attended Swiss Federal Polytechnic in Zürich, where he got top grades in math and physics and earned his teaching degree. He did his PhD at University of Zürich. Alfred Kleiner, Professor of Experimental Physics, was his adviser for his thesis "A New Determination of Molecular Dimensions" Kleiner didn't need to advise Einstein much - his previous paper, "Conclusions from the Capillarity Phenomena" had already been published in the prestigious "Annalen der Physik" (Annals of Physics).

They aren't programmers anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47406905)

They're politicians that deal with code.

Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47406913)

Bill Gates

Re:Obvious (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about three weeks ago | (#47407005)

Bill Gates

Only if success is measured in dollars earned for each line of code produced. Bill is no great programmer, he's just a lucky business man who hit the lottery with DOS and Windows. He wrote very little code...

Re:Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407095)

OP was obv. trolling

Re:Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407257)

I've always thought the 'Bill can't program' line was more of a myth, mostly since so many geeks hate him. I seem to recall that in 'Hackers' by Steven levy, Bill Gates was noted as a very talented 'code bummer' --he could whittle functions down to just the necessities. Certainly that takes some skill (and is most definitely a lost art these days). I also seem to remember a source, which I can't remember ATM, saying that Gates wrote code for Office until the late 90s.

Also all the BASIC stuff he wrote in the early and pre-MS days.

I'd love to know for sure but I'm willing to bet Gates has wrote a not insignificant amount of code.

And there was his mathematical paper 'Bounds for Sorting by Prefix Reversal', whose algorithm was not bested by professional mathematicians for many years.

Re:Obvious (1)

gunner_von_diamond (3461783) | about three weeks ago | (#47407481)

he's just a lucky business man who hit the lottery with DOS and Windows

A lucky business man? One of the world's most wealthiest people (if not the richest) got to where he is today because of "luck"? Success in monetary terms as a result of Co-founding Microsoft had nothing to do with luck, regardless of how many lines of code he has or has not written.

DJB has to be up there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47406923)

His code is bulletproof.

Re:DJB has to be up there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407247)

agreed djb and deraat i think need to be on that list

Knuth cannot be among them (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47406947)

...as he is a Christian, and religious belief is utterly incompatible with a true understanding of logic, the key to programming brilliance. Yes, Knuth may have managed to create some well-known software, but he's essentially just the same as the TempleOS nutter [templeos.org] . He deserves our pity and scorn, not our praise.

Best game programmer (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about three weeks ago | (#47406957)

Who's the best game programmer? It would be easy to say John Carmack, but there might be even tougher guys lurking somewhere inside Ubisoft, Rockstar, Midway, Dice, Sega, etc..?

Re:Best game programmer (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about three weeks ago | (#47406981)

How do you qualify that? John Carmack's an excellent graphics engine programmer, but what does he know about gameplay mechanics? ...probably more than you and I put together; I imagine, but we just don't know.

Re:Best game programmer (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about three weeks ago | (#47407011)

That's a good question too.

Re:Best game programmer (4, Interesting)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about three weeks ago | (#47407031)

I'd argue Chris Sawyer, the programmer behind the original Rollercoaster Tycoon. The entire game was written in Assembly, and works on pretty much anything to this day without needing an emulator or any real fixes. Second place goes to Toady, the programmer of Dwarf Fortress, for singlehandedly making a game that goes into more detail than it should ever have reason to and still works most of the time.

Carmack, as far as I'm aware, was behind the horrible "update" of Doom 3 that released on Steam a few years ago, which wouldn't run on fully half the machines of the people who bought it. He was also behind Rage, which was a notorious crashfest.

Re:Best game programmer (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about three weeks ago | (#47407601)

This betrays the fact that the best games, from Indie games to AAA titles tend to be team efforts. Yes, games like Dwarf Fortress and Spelunky can be one person affairs, but for the rest of the world? Software or games development trends towards group work.

Re:Best game programmer (2)

raftpeople (844215) | about three weeks ago | (#47407059)

How do you define best? Just because you've heard of someone doesn't mean they are the best. I programmed games back in the 80's and during that time I ran into like-minded people and within that group it's tough to tell, different people have different attributes, It certainly possible to tell who has natural talent, but I don't think "best" even makes sense.

You too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47406959)

Every programmer should believe they qualify, given some angle...

How would you know? (5, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about three weeks ago | (#47406963)

You only know if you get to see their code, and/or if they are a public figure.

Re:How would you know? (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about three weeks ago | (#47406989)

Exactly.

Re:How would you know? (1)

narcc (412956) | about three weeks ago | (#47407199)

Well said. There are some really great developers out there that you'll likely never here about. Roland p on Atariage, for example, deserves a mention for his Ballblazer 2600 work. Really, a lot of the hobbyists there top-notch.

I'll bet you'll find quite a few well-above-average developers in communities like that.

Re:How would you know? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about three weeks ago | (#47407467)

Yes. More importantly, the article didn't show any of their code. Winning a programming contest, oddly enough, doesn't make you a good programmer.

I know who's NOT on the list (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47406969)

The nimrods who coded the itworld.com site.

Five minutes, and I'm still waiting for crap to download.

Re:I know who's NOT on the list (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407413)

It opened quickly for me, showed some picture of trophies, and some assorted "other sllideshows" so I closed it. Apparently there was nothing to see there. I was expecting a list. (Thanks to the poster well above who provided one). I guess it was some sort of idiotic slideshow. Like I need to see pictures of Richard Stallman...

Github Followers (5, Insightful)

Greyfox (87712) | about three weeks ago | (#47406971)

If you go by Github followers, Linus is pretty up-there. Linus and Stallman aren't great just for their programming abilities; their capability to manage their projects so effectively is a huge factor in their success.

Re:Github Followers (2, Informative)

Megol (3135005) | about three weeks ago | (#47407109)

Being a good programmer is orthogonal with being a good manager so... why should one count management skills?

Torvalds is a good programmer, but really far from the best out there.

Re:Github Followers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407391)

How is Stallman a great project leader? He's a powerful spokesperson for Free Software ethics, sure, but I believe the FSF is managed by other people entirely. Stallman gives speeches and writes essays. And that's a good thing, because his personal skills are... lacking, let's say. I don't think he'd be a good manager at all.

Linus is a lot of pragmatical and has interpersonal skills, even if he calls a spade a spade sometimes.

I hereby nominate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47406977)

Anonymous Coward!!!

Re:I hereby nominate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407015)

WAHOO! I Win!

Re:I hereby nominate... (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about three weeks ago | (#47407019)

We should give him a Cononymous Award.

Re:I hereby nominate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407209)

Only after he fixes Beta Slashdot.

Yeah right... (2)

Megol (3135005) | about three weeks ago | (#47407001)

How about Terje Mathisen? I'd rank him higher than most in that listing. There are a lot of others more deserving to be in a top 10 list.

F0rist psot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407013)

What !? No mention of antirez !? redis dad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407023)

What !? I believe antirez (Salvatore Sanfilippo) creator of redis should be on the list. disappoined.

They forgot Alan Kay, Bill Joy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407027)

(pad for /. filter)

Re:They forgot Alan Kay, Bill Joy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407055)

... Michael Abrash, Al Aho of Bell Labs, Larry Wall.

Re:They forgot Alan Kay, Bill Joy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407153)

Bill Gates too --- I think we can overlook Gorilla.bas and acknowledge the Radio Shack Model 100 and Altair BASIC.

Disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407045)

While I can entirely appreciate that such lists will always exclude someone, the absence of people like Bjarne Stroustrup and Dave Cutler seem like big omissions to me.

Me (1)

Jizzbug (101250) | about three weeks ago | (#47407047)

I am obviously the world's best programmer. Just ask me to do something and wait for the awesome and novel solutions I come up with.

The measure of ability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407071)

Silly humans, always ranking themselves according to some arbitrary metric.

"I have the absolute confidence not to be number two, but then I have enough sense also to realize that there can be no number one." - Bruce Lee

Stupid article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407107)

This is like saying "Who are the Best Automotive Engineers in the world today?" Can you quantify that? Popularity? Bug free code? Fame?

Just like with auto engineering, nobody outside the immediate domain cares.

Stack Overflow reputation (5, Insightful)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about three weeks ago | (#47407115)

Stack Overflow reputation indicates that you're a 1337 documentation writer, not necessarily that you know how to program.

I would include Bill Joy on the list (5, Informative)

twasserman (878174) | about three weeks ago | (#47407131)

BSD Unix, vi editor, Sun Microsystems....

A better list than expected (5, Informative)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about three weeks ago | (#47407137)

I'm just impressed that neither Bill Gates nor Mark Zuckerberg were included. Most people who don't understand programming include one - or both - of them when building a list of "top programmers" even though neither are particularly outstanding programmers.

damned multi-page (2, Informative)

danbob999 (2490674) | about three weeks ago | (#47407169)

Jon Skeet Main claim to fame: Legendary Stack Overflow contributor
Gennady Korotkevich Main claim to fame: Competitive programming prodigy
Linus Torvalds Main claim to fame: Creator of Linux
Jeff Dean Main claim to fame: The brains behind Google search indexing
John Carmack Main claim to fame: Creator of Doom
Richard Stallman Main claim to fame: Creator of Emacs, GCC
Petr Mitrechev Main claim to fame: One of the top competitive programmers of all time
Fabrice Bellard Main claim to fame: Creator of QEMU
Doug Cutting Main claim to fame: Creator of Lucene
Donald Knuth Main claim to fame: Author of The Art of Computer Programming
Anders Hejlsberg Main claim to fame: Creator of Turbo Pascal
Ken Thompson Main claim to fame: Creator of Unix
Adam D'Angelo Main claim to fame: Co-founder of Quora
Sanjay Ghemawat Main claim to fame: Key Google architect

What if we include dead programmers? (2)

AnontheDestroyer (3500983) | about three weeks ago | (#47407177)

Does the list even change? I'm thinking you basically just add Alan Turing.

Re:What if we include dead programmers? (2)

OakDragon (885217) | about three weeks ago | (#47407541)

No, their productivity has slumped precipitously since certain life events.

No Dave Cutler? (1)

neilo_1701D (2765337) | about three weeks ago | (#47407187)

Designed & wrote VMX and Windows NT 3.1.

I guess lists like this are always a matter of opinion.

Jon Skeet doesn't belong on such a list (5, Interesting)

Westley (99238) | about three weeks ago | (#47407197)

I thought I'd get that in before too many other people do. I have better justification than most, as I *am* Jon Skeet. I saw the list yesterday, and we've been gently laughing about it at work.

Somewhere, the difference between fame and accomplishments has been lost. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a bad coder. I'm pretty knowledgeable about C# as a language, although details of writing *applications* in C# is a different matter. I'm pretty good at expressing technical concepts, and that's really useful in various contexts (Stack Overflow, books, screencasts, and of course work). But none of these are a patch on what some of the others on the list have accomplished.

As a Googler, I know a *bit* about what Jeff Dean and Sanjay Ghemawat have done - and it's obvious I'm not in the same league. The code I'm probably proudest of is Noda Time (my .NET date/time library) which has a few thousand users, if that. I hope I've had an impact everywhere I've worked, but it just isn't on the same scale as many of the other members of the list (let alone the many thousands of other notable programmers).

It's pretty clear I'm not actually on the list because of my coding skills - it's just due to Stack Overflow reputation. That indicates *something*, but it's definitely not the kind of measure you'd sensibly use to compare two programmers. Just as I'm proud of Noda Time, I'm proud of being able to help a lot of people on Stack Overflow - but I'm not under the delusion that even that's on the same level of impact as an awful lot of other coders.

For what it's worth, if I could substitute one other name for mine, it would be Eric Lippert. I'm not sure he's really be in the "top 14" or even whether that's meaningful - but I'd say he's at least *more* worthy of being there than I am.

Jon Skeet doesn't belong on such a list (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407359)

Regardless, you've assisted a lot of us, myself included.

Re:Jon Skeet doesn't belong on such a list (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407473)

I thought I'd get that in before too many other people do. I have better justification than most, as I *am* Jon Skeet.

Shows you what you know! People make lists based on popularity and their perception, regardless if its correct or not (mostly not).

Remember the lists like "most beautiful people in the world"? This goes into the same category. Enjoy it, don't try to fix it. It's broken by design anyway.

Re:Jon Skeet doesn't belong on such a list (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about three weeks ago | (#47407511)

What has Eric Lippert done, as far as programming?

Re:Jon Skeet doesn't belong on such a list (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407575)

you're still more deserving of being on this list than adam d'angelo

Re:Jon Skeet doesn't belong on such a list (2)

jovius (974690) | about three weeks ago | (#47407581)

That list presents the whole problem really nicely. It's not only about being a good programmer, but each of the individuals on the list are there because of their different personalities, which they've put forward along with their skill and talent. The absolutely best programmer would be found out in a competition, where the tasks would have been tailored for just that purpose. Anyway, these lists are like beauty pageants; only those who participate are deemed the most beautiful, excluding the ones who are beautiful enough to not participate.

it's just a popularity contest (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407205)

Therefore all of us anti-social basement-dwellers never had a chance.

Re:it's just a popularity contest (3, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about three weeks ago | (#47407523)

More importantly, where is there code? How can you know if they are good programmers if you've never seen their code?

No Mel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407231)

What about Mel? Or better yet, the guy who partially figured out how he was hacking the magnetic drum and decided not to try any further modifications on Mel's code?

Amusing... (1)

Assmasher (456699) | about three weeks ago | (#47407241)

...but I would argue that software engineering is a far more important a skill than programming.

Which thing is ultimately more valuable, the ability to write JavaScript (or C++, or Objective-C, or whatever) better than anyone else, or, the ability to architecturally scale a big data solution along swim lanes or using an AKF cube (or properly design a secure inter-process communication system, or whatever)?

I'm not trying to demean raw programming ability, because that's always a valuable skill, the problem is that people seem to venerate it above what I believe it more important to the creation of good software.

Anywho...

Re:Amusing... (2)

Jeremi (14640) | about three weeks ago | (#47407395)

To the people who hired you, the most important thing is getting the product to work reliably so they can start making money with it. It won't matter at all how pretty the chart bubbles are in the design document, if the program crashes or is otherwise unusable. So score one for the talented programmers there.

Which is not to say software engineering isn't important -- only that exactly how important it is will vary with the size of the project. e.g. for a smaller project like a script or a one-off data processing program, just about any design (or no design) can be made to work well enough. For a large program (or one that will eventually grow into a large program), detailed software engineering is necessary to prevent its eventual collapse under the weight of its own complexity.

Re:Amusing... (2)

Assmasher (456699) | about three weeks ago | (#47407553)

To the people who hired you, the most important thing is getting the product to work reliably so they can start making money with it. It won't matter at all how pretty the chart bubbles are in the design document, if the program crashes or is otherwise unusable. So score one for the talented programmers there.

You are clearly demonstrating your lack of understanding about how to make software. You seem to think that software engineering is about "chart bubbles" and "design documents." It isn't at all. That's like saying that being an excellent race car driver is about how nice your car looks. It also isn't about how well you can drive a GoKart or a Formula 4 car, it's about your ability to drive anything necessary to accomplish your goals, your ability to make decisions, to mitigate risks, et cetera.

Talented programmers are sometimes good software engineers.
Talented software engineers are often good programmers.

the most important thing is getting the product to work reliably so they can start making money with it

You not only display your lack of understanding what software engineering is, but here you demonstrate your lack of realization that there are more independent software vendors in the world than just cash strapped startups who have to hack together whatever they can in order to begin generating revenue.

Which is not to say software engineering isn't important -- only that exactly how important it is will vary with the size of the project

Amazing. You really don't understand that software engineering is the discipline of creating software properly. You seem to conflate it with architecture design documents and waterfall planning.

Software engineering is critical for any project of ANY size.

It is about decision making, risk mitigation, and proper use of resources.

People who think the way you are exhibiting here are the reason with why so much software is just garbage when it doesn't have to be.

Re:Amusing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407407)

the ability to architecturally scale a big data solution along swim lanes or using an AKF cube

Even though I'm not sure what any of that means, it's not clear how this kind of thing is not the same as programming ability, nor is it clear that the list discounts factors like this over whatever "raw" programming ability is. For instance, Carmack doesn't get the points for being the only person able to code the DOOM engine. Lots of people coded the same thing. He gets the points for researching the algorithms, realizing the time had come, architecting his game so he used minimal assembly language (which meant it got ported to EVERYTHING), and refactoring the whole thing multiple times to get it streamlined. The actual algorithms used in that game are fairly trivial, and he didn't invent them or anything, nor was coding them up a huge challenge.

Ultimately, programming and software engineering are the same thing. A great programmer is not just someone who can get working code up and running, while laughing at system-level and maintenance-level concerns, and never has been. Sometimes a great programmer gets to say "screw your system-level concerns, this component is the system, and everything else is plumbing and must bend to what this component needs", but a programmer who says this all the time is not a great programmer.

I measure success by money (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407333)

Success can be measured by how much money you have in life, your total worth. Does that mean I'm a better programmer than many, even those based on commits? Yep! If you're just some worthless poorfag, then tough shit. I love being a richfag. Don't like it, get bent asshole! :D

I once interviewed the 'No.3 Clipper Programmer' (1)

MooseDontBounce (989375) | about three weeks ago | (#47407399)

Back in the early 90's we received a resume at my then employer in which this person stated they where the '#3 Clipper programmer in Rochester, NY'. Well, we HAD to interview him. He wouldn't tell us how he came about this ranking but it was correct! After the interview I told my co-worker that 'if he's the #3 Clipper programmer, then we are #1 & #2 and I'm pretty sure we weren't #1 and #2.' Always wondered were he came up with #3.

Re:I once interviewed the 'No.3 Clipper Programmer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407519)

Maybe he bought the third copy of Clipper sold in Rochester.

Re:I once interviewed the 'No.3 Clipper Programmer (4, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | about three weeks ago | (#47407595)

The problem is that you were interviewing him for a job working with "Clipper", which he had almost no experience in.

If you had asked about adjusting the settings on his "#3 Clipper", which allowed him to produce anything from centimetre long shag to a 1 mm buzz cut, then you would have been amazed at how much he knew.

The list is clearly missing DJB (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47407443)

Its also missing the criteria for being a best programmer.

They got one thing right (5, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | about three weeks ago | (#47407547)

I noticed that the guy who wrote their slideshow code wasn't on the list.

Knuth (3, Funny)

RDW (41497) | about three weeks ago | (#47407605)

ITworld's Phil Johnson has rounded up a list of what just might be the world's top 14 programmers alive today.

In the unpublished final volume of The Art of Computer Programming, Knuth describes an algorithm that can provide a complete emulation of any of the other 13.

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