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Great Programmers Answer Questions From Aspiring Student

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the inquiring-minds-wanna-know dept.

347

NathanBFH writes "Many of the questions that make it to the Ask Slashdot pages come from young and aspiring programmers wanting to know the role math and education play in the profession, or what makes certain programmers so much more productive than others, or what the future of the craft will look like. One young programmer by the name of Jarosaw "sztywny" Rzeszótko decided to ask these types of questions (and more) to the programmers he admired the most who also, it turns out, happen to be some of the most influential computer scientists and programmers of the last several decades. The result? Most of them happily responded. The results include the following: Linus Torvalds (Linux), Bjarne Stroustrup (C++), James Gosling (Java), Tim Bray (XML, Atom), Guido Van Rossum (Python), Dave Thomas (Pragmatic Programmer), David Heinemeier Hansson (Rails Framework), and Googlers Steve Yegge and Peter Norvig."

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ADA (1)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376151)

Ada nuff said.

Re:ADA (4, Funny)

jrumney (197329) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376325)

She might have some difficulty answering the questions though, what with being dead for the last 154 years.

Re:ADA (1)

eglamkowski (631706) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376755)

Haven't you people ever heard of a seance? Sheesh!

Re:ADA (1)

gkhan1 (886823) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376859)

Hey, Donald Knuth has been dead since 2003 [wikipedia.org] and he's still writing books!

Re:ADA (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16376953)

Has anybody else noticed that Knuth [wikipedia.org] looks like Yoda?

Re:ADA (1)

Morphine007 (207082) | more than 7 years ago | (#16377001)

OMG!!... paint him green and he'd be a ringer...

Though, it is Knuth after all... when it comes to CS he pretty much is one with the force

Dupe? (0, Offtopic)

TVAFR (992256) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376159)

I have a feeling I have seen it here before. Could it be a dupe?

Re:Dupe? (1, Redundant)

masklinn (823351) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376197)

I don't think i've seen it on /. yet (but I may very well err). Your feeling is more likely to exist because this thing's several month old (23rd of july)

So it's less of a dupe and more of a "slow news day" thing.

Re:Dupe? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16376837)

Not yet. Give it time.

Re:Dupe? (1)

leonmergen (807379) | more than 7 years ago | (#16377155)

It was featured on reddit.com .. perhaps that's what's confusing you

what? (3, Funny)

darkchubs (814225) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376163)

I'm suprised they didnt say "go into sales kid".

Re:what? (1)

simscitizen (696184) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376297)

Well, at least GvR had some funny replies, like:

Q: What do you think is the most important skill every programmer should possess?

A: Your questions are rather general and hard to answer. :-) I guess being able to cook an egg for breakfast is invaluable.

Re:what? (1)

plopez (54068) | more than 7 years ago | (#16377151)

In all seriousness, the response points out the risks of vauge requirements. Zen philospher he is..... :)

What makes a programmer great? (5, Interesting)

muttoj (572791) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376165)

What makes a programmer great? The software they produce? The influence they have in the markt? The money they earn?

Re:What makes a programmer great? (3, Insightful)

Kranfer (620510) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376187)

Personally, I believe it is their creative ability to solve the problem at hand in new and innovative ways. But thats just me.

Re:What makes a programmer great? (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376205)

No, not just you.
I just read TFI and your comment is a far more accurate than the post.

Re:What makes a programmer great? (4, Interesting)

b1ufox (987621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376399)

Well new and innovative ways are just one part of it.


It is the ability to choose a very simple and elegant solution from a wide possibility of solutions available, which makes a progammer great.The situation may require choosing a little cumbersome solution but mostly its the simple ones.


programming as such doesnot definetly mean mastering a language.


tools, language are of no use if you are a horrible programmer.


People like Brian Kenighan, Dennis Ritchie, Ken Thomson are people who are a perfect example of what a great programmer is. The simplicity of C, Unix and family is a concrete example of what a simple solution can do.

Re:What makes a programmer great? (2)

pyroflower (999589) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376577)

I'd have to agree with you there. I also find that it's the ability to use your language of choice to solve a problem in an efficient and innovative way. Just like speaking any foriegn language fluently...sort of.

Re:What makes a programmer great? (1)

masklinn (823351) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376211)

I'd pick #1 and #2 if you replaced "markt" by "other programmers" in #2.

Something I noticed about all their answers (4, Insightful)

porkThreeWays (895269) | more than 7 years ago | (#16377127)

I noticed a commonality in some of their answers. More I guess the way they answered them. When they didn't know an answer, they said "I don't know". I think the ability to admit you actually don't know the answer to something is very important. How many actors, salesman, or politicians have you ever heard use those words? Not too many!

Re:Something I noticed about all their answers (5, Funny)

Furmy (854336) | more than 7 years ago | (#16377269)

How many actors, salesman, or politicians have you ever heard use those words?

I don't know.
Good point, though.

Re:What makes a programmer great? (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 7 years ago | (#16377255)

It depends on who you ask. If you ask an end user, the usefulness and appeal of the software is what makes them great. If you ask the programmers, the efficiency and accurateness of the code is what makes them great. If you ask Slashdot, working for Google makes them great.

I can answer one of them (5, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376183)

or what makes certain programmers so much more productive than others

The most productive programmers have slashdot.org pointed at 0.0.0.0 in their hosts file.

Re:I can answer one of them (1)

Pastis (145655) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376875)

Don't forget alterslash....

no Knuth ? (3, Insightful)

dario_moreno (263767) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376217)

without Donald Knuth this list is *SO* incomplete.

Re:no Knuth ? (3, Informative)

Bitsy Boffin (110334) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376247)

Knuth doesn't use e-mail, so probably why not included.

Re:no Knuth ? (1)

donkaveh (774824) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376921)

Here is some insider information, he actually has an email address which he uses on a regular basis mainly to arrange visits to different universities!

Re:no Knuth ? (3, Funny)

nkv (604544) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376311)

Also, he forgot to ask Eric Raymond. The guy who wrote "How to be a hacker"! Man...

Re:no Knuth ? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16376411)

This is a terrible list of mostly light-weights in the field. They may have contributed good things, but I wouldn't call them the revolutoinaries in the field. There is nothing overly theoretical about any of the things mentioned; they are just practical implementations of work other people did the trailblazing on. Bjarne and James Gosling are probably the best people on the list but even they don't hold candles to Knuth or Turing.

Re:no Knuth ? (2, Informative)

ray-auch (454705) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376471)

Exactly how was the guy supposed to get Turing or Knuth to do an email interview ?

Re:no Knuth ? (5, Funny)

amelith (920455) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376639)

No, without Godel it's incomplete but if you included him it would be inconsistent.

Ame

Re:no Knuth ? (1)

gkhan1 (886823) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376927)

My thoughts exactly! They didn't even mention The Art of Computer Programming when asked what their favorite books on computer programming was (although I smiled when Torvalds said "Operating Systems: Design and Implementation" by Andy Tanenbaum). With the possible exception of Gödel, Escher, Bach (which isn't really about computers anyway), it has to be the greatest work on algorithms and programming ever written.

Re:no Knuth ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16377085)

Torvalds said "Operating Systems: Design and Implementation" by Andy Tanenbaum

Is this sarcasm on Torvalds part? I understand that he and Tanenbaum had some flame wars about Minix in the early 90s though I suppose Torvalds can still admire Tanenbaum's book and still disagree with him.

Re:no Knuth ? (1)

plopez (54068) | more than 7 years ago | (#16377187)

or because he didn't like it, decided he could do getter and the rest is history....

The two biggest omissions (4, Informative)

Tyler Durden (136036) | more than 7 years ago | (#16377279)

Knuth is great for his theoretical work, but I don't know if he'd rank up there as an important programmer. Although I suppose someone could make an argument for it based on his work on TeX.

The real great programmers omissions I see are Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie. It's hard to top creating the most influencial programming language and the most influential OS of all time. (C and Unix, obviously).

When it comes to the OS, Thompson would be a thousand times more interesting to talk to than Torvalds.

a sample (1)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376239)

One young programmer by the name of Jarosaw "sztywny" Rzeszótko decided to ask these types of questions (and more) to the programmers he admired the most who also, it turns out, happen to be some of the most influential computer scientists and programmers of the last several decades.

He asks such age-old questions as, "Why am I forced to learn the LISP programming language? Seriously? What the hell? I can program in C just fine."

Re:a sample (5, Funny)

AEton (654737) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376275)


(and
  (why? (am (forced 'I (to-learn (language (programming 'the-LISP))))))
  (seriously?)
  (what? 'the-hell)
  (can 'I (program (in 'C) 'just-fine)
)


Fixed that for you.

Re:a sample (3, Insightful)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376409)

I think if there was anything I got from the interviews, it is that great programming skills come from individuals that have a broad background. (And what brings this out is the juxtaposition of the different viewpoints - which is a nice approach).

I'm sure you can program fine in C. But knowing low-level assembly or even machine code can make the difference between a mediocre C programmer and a brilliant one. Similarly, knowing LISP makes you think differently about how lists work within your C programs. And so on....

These guys all come from different backgrounds and have made substantial efforts to keep their knowledge honed. They also have very open minds to new ideas - (Except for Bjarne who just sounds like a grumpy bugger).

Re:a sample (2, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#16377095)

I don't understand "Lisp Hate" at all. Having used C and other C like programming languages since I learned programming, 9 years back - and having learned Lisp just last year - I always consider it approaching what programming should be much closer than an Algol descended language.

Maybe Lisp shouldn't be a first language in college, so the people who do come to it can appreciate it more. That way they have the fundamentals that occur in any programming language well out of the way.

Torvalds plugs Tanenbaum! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16376249)

For similar reasons, I have a soft spot for Andrew Tanenbaum's Operating Systems: Design and Implementation".

Heh. I missed that the first time around.

Interesting Responses (4, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376251)

- What do you think is the most important skill every programmer should posses?
Guido Van Rossum:

Your questions are rather general and hard to answer. :-) I guess being able to cook an egg for breakfast is invaluable.
When writing a kernel, give me Torvalds. When authoring a book, give me Norvig. When making breakfast ... GIVE ME VAN ROSSUM.

What? (4, Funny)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376263)

Jarosaw "sztywny" Rzeszótko

That's it... I resign!!

- suv4x4's spellchecker.

Re:What? (2, Informative)

enos (627034) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376761)

The guy's Polish and "sztywny" means stiff.

It's not the questions that are important... (5, Insightful)

jackharrer (972403) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376295)

...it's all about answers. Those guys answered them - and everybody knows how busy they are. I think it shows something about them - their character, the way they treat other people, how helpful they're trying to be. When I was younger I met many times people who claimed to be good programmers, but every time I asked them any kind of questions answer was fairly the same: you noob go to books, online, and other abuse. That effectively prevented me from joining OSS club. If we want more good programmers, people with passion - we need to allow them to enter mainstream - by helping them, not rejecting. Everybody started some time ago, and all of us know how hard was to get over some, now basic, problems. If we show them positive way - they will learn it - and do the same to other. jackharrer

Re:It's not the questions that are important... (2, Interesting)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#16377029)

Not only that, but it shows something about the field of CS which to a large extent is unique, which is that many of the big names are still around and are emailable! I mean, you can't do that in math -- let's see you email Newton and ask him a question. Or ring up Einstein and ask about something in his paper. But just the other day I emailed an author of a paper I read with a question, and he got back in just a couple hours. It's really pretty neat.

And yeah, you can do this with modern stuff in other sciences, but with CS *most* of the field is modern. (There are some notable exceptions of course.)

Books (1)

CxDoo (918501) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376321)

What I found interesting were the books these guys listed as favourites or recently read. Hofstadter, Dennet, Dawkins, Diamond, Gaiman, Vonnegut, Orwell... are all my favourites too.
Strange no one mentioned Pinker, though.

Experts?? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16376361)

Linus Torvalds (Linux) - cloned Minix because he was too tight to pay for a copy
Bjarne Stroustrup (C++) - added all the easy bits of smalltalk to C. Wow.
James Gosling (Java) - Took C++ and made it slower
Tim Bray (XML, Atom) - XML has nothing to do with programming
Guido Van Rossum (Python) - Nor does Python
Dave Thomas (Pragmatic Programmer) - Pragmatic = can't do decent designs
David Heinemeier Hansson (Rails Framework) - Yeah right, sure
Googlers Steve Yegge and Peter Norvig. - LOLz

Where are Turing, Knuth and Parnas? The people listed above are all just latter-day uber-geeks. Big fish-small pond types. Re-inventors of other peoples ideas and custodians of gradual decay in the standards of modern software.

Re:Experts?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16376493)

Where are Turing,...?

Well, Turing is dead and unlikely to respond to email.

Re:Experts?? (4, Funny)

ray-auch (454705) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376495)

Where are Turing, Knuth and Parnas

At least two of them are very definitely unavailable for email interviews...

not completely true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16376959)

knuth answers email through a proxy. It is possible to send/receive email from him.

Re:Experts?? (2, Funny)

32771 (906153) | more than 7 years ago | (#16377225)

D.E. Knuth is then indefinitely unavailable for an email interview.

Re:Experts?? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16376905)

Stoustrup was inspired by Simula, not Smalltalk (allthough Smalltalk also was inspired by Simula)

Why is it that Smalltalk users think Smalltalk invented everything?

Re:Experts?? (1)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376915)

You're claiming that software standards are decaying. Do you have any objective measurement that illustrates that unabiguously? What is it?

Re:Experts?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16377297)

You're claiming that software standards are decaying. Do you have any objective measurement that illustrates that unabiguously? What is it?

Your question is ambiguous to me.

Re:Experts?? (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376935)

What are your accomplishments in the CS field?

Re:Experts?? (1)

CortoMaltese (828267) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376945)

David Heinemeier Hansson (Rails Framework) - Yeah right, sure
Who knows. I've never heard of him before, but I know I'm getting old for sure. His answer on how he learned programming:
I learned programming by starting to put together my first web page in HTML. Then I wanted to make some dynamic pieces and picked up first ASP then PHP. After I already knew how to program, I then started on a joint computer science and business administration degree.

Hey, Don't Knock Peter Norvig! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16377201)

The guy is brilliant. He wrote my 4th year AI text (Russell & Norvig).

Also one of my favorites: Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years [norvig.com]

History of CS 101 (0, Troll)

s31523 (926314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376377)

The list is nice, but what about some of the forefathers? To not have these guys (and gal) on the list is crazy, especially when talking about most influential computer scientists:

Alan Turing [wikipedia.org]
Charles Babbage [wikipedia.org]
Ada Lovelace [wikipedia.org]
Edsger Dijkstra [wikipedia.org]

There are many others, but certainly 1 or all of theses people were crucial to the field of computer science.

Re:History of CS 101 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16376413)

Yes because it's real easy to shoot them over an email and get a response.

HELLO?? This was a kid INTERVIEWING programmers.. Now unless he also invented a time machine, i doubt he'll get a reply from those 4

Re:History of CS 101 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16376513)

If he wants to interview COMPUTER SCIENTISTS, I can think of a ton of people that actually belong on that list and are not just the revered creators of some popular application. Professors and researchers in the field, not creators of popular languages.

Re:History of CS 101 (1)

CortoMaltese (828267) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376737)

If he wants to interview COMPUTER SCIENTISTS, I can think of a ton of people that actually belong on that list and are not just the revered creators of some popular application. Professors and researchers in the field, not creators of popular languages.
So let me get this straight: You think he should've interviewed Andy Tanenbaum instead of Linus Torvalds? Get outta here! This is /. for crying out loud!

Re:History of CS 101 (2, Informative)

FoamingToad (904595) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376443)

Edsger Dijkstra died in 2002.
Alan Turing committed suicide in 1954.
Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace died in the 19th century.

I'm sure you _could_ ask questions of each of these people, but getting the responses may prove problematic...

Re:History of CS 101 (1)

s31523 (926314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376461)

Are you kidding? I was talking to Babbage the other day!
Honary mention perhaps? I don't know, to have a list described as "most influential computer scientists" should include some dead people, even if they can't talk back.

Re:History of CS 101 (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376541)

Alan Turing committed suicide in 1954.

Yes, but I built a Turing emulator, and it's indistinguishable from Alan Turing. Acording to the Turing test, this means for all intents and purposes, it is Alan Turing. Does need a working Turing machine though. Anyone know where I can get an infinitely long, infinitely erasable paper tape?

Re:History of CS 101 (1)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376559)

How about a Ouiji board with binary and a hex responses?

Re:History of CS 101 (1)

Drall (1006725) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376909)

A Suffusion of Yellow.

Re:History of CS 101 (5, Funny)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376451)

Everyone knows that dead people are shit at filling out questionaires.

Great voters - but questionaires? It's just not their thing.

Re:History of CS 101 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16376475)

He probably didnt include them because they're dead. Kinda makes it difficult to interview them dont ya think???

Re:History of CS 101 (1)

dsci (658278) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376477)

Some of those are hard to ask questions of these days...unless you want to hold a seance.

Re:History of CS 101 (1)

OmnipotentEntity (702752) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376581)

Sure, send them an e-mail. Let us know how that works out, and if there's any titty bars in the afterlife.

Re:History of CS 101 (1)

tinkerghost (944862) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376707)

Let us know how that works out, and if there's any titty bars in the afterlife.
Of course there are titty bars in the afterlife. Why else would there be a stripper factory and a beer volcano there?!

Re:History of CS 101 (1)

NotBorg (829820) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376585)

You're right. If one doesn't take the time to exhume bodies, how can he even pretend to present a complete set of interviews. What an idiot! Why must we constantly discriminate against the dead?

No Eric?!! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16376397)

Notice the trend (1, Interesting)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376431)


That everybody on the list just started programming, and most enhanced programming with education.

I firmly believe that programming is something that you are born with, and can do or pretty much can't do. Like everything else, its something where you can always learn more tricks, tips, and techniques, but I don't believe that it is something that can really be "learned". The attention to detail, troubleshooting, and all of those little skills that are necessary to program are tough.

To put it another way, I can program just fine. I can draw a stick person or something and another person can recognise it, and whatnot. I am by no means an artist, and never will be.

Re:Notice the trend (5, Insightful)

Jekler (626699) | more than 7 years ago | (#16377051)

I believe the opposite. I think people are an infinite well of potential, their decisions shape their potential. I think whether or not you become a great artist is almost solely a function of how much you choose to dedicate yourself to it. People shape themselves into great things all the time, and things they never actually intended to be nor thought they had any potential for.

I think it's a matter of mental blocks. If a person believes they can't be an artist, then they're not going to put in the necessary effort to make it happen. They won't spend anytime contemplating things like form and composition, not because they inherently lack the capacity to understand it, but because they refuse to. If they lift that mental block and purge the self-defeatist mentality, they can become as great an artists as anyone else, regardless of where their prior talent was.

Re:Notice the trend (2, Interesting)

orasio (188021) | more than 7 years ago | (#16377147)

Programming is very easy, and most people can learn it, like any kind of language.

Of course, it's much easier if you learn as a kid, because your language skills are starting to form, but it can be taught the same way that difficult languages can.

I would compare learning programming to learning a foreign language that is fundamentally different from yours, like a western person learning chinese. You need new structures in your head, and obviously there are people that do that kind of thing more easily, but it's not just a gift.

Aside from that, enjoying programming can go a long way, and probably has much more influence in the development of a programmer.

An interesting observation (1, Interesting)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376469)

When asked about the their favorite book on programming, Linus spent a full paragraph explaining why K&R's /The C Programming Language/ is so impressive while Strousoup reply merely said `K&R.' I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader which of these answers shows a better understanding of C.

I also find it interesting that K&R is the only book mentioned by more than one responder.

Re:An interesting observation (1)

adamacus (1002560) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376551)

Bentley's Programming Pearls is mentioned both by James Gosling and Tim Bray. For my part, I was surprised nobody mentioned the design patterns book.

Re:An interesting observation (1)

miro f (944325) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376579)

actually there was another book that was mentioned more than once. I'd say what it was but the site is slashdotted right now

someone else will have to get it for me

Re:An interesting observation (2)

Aim Here (765712) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376649)

Programming Pearls by Jon Bentley and Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs by Sussman, Abelson and Sussman were both mentioned twice too.

Re:An interesting observation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16377213)

do you know what SICP is about? Ive heard it mentioned a few times but have no clue what its about

Re:An interesting observation (1)

mattgreen (701203) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376743)

So could you explain to me exactly how the depth of one's explanation to a question posted on an Internet site is indicative of a better understanding of C?

Re:An interesting observation (4, Insightful)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376863)

Brevity.

ROTFL (was Re:An interesting observation) (3, Insightful)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 7 years ago | (#16377119)

When asked about the their favorite book on programming, Linus spent a full paragraph explaining why K&R's /The C Programming Language/ is so impressive while Strousoup reply merely said `K&R.' I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader which of these answers shows a better understanding of C.
Yes. Stroustrop couldn't have had a very strong understanding of the C language. I mean ... it is not like he invented a language that used C as a starting point and then gave serious thought to the pitfalls, and ways to enhance and extend it, until it was a language called C++ or anything ....

It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak (write) and remove all doubt 8-)

Re:ROTFL (was Re:An interesting observation) (1)

scotch (102596) | more than 7 years ago | (#16377259)

Way to miss the complete point. Perhaps you should heed the advice of your own last line?

Not to sound like a fanboi.... (0)

Siberwulf (921893) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376489)

But where is the C# / VB.Net representation? I'm not saying its the industry standard, but it is pretty wisely used out there. Also, its a little easier to get into, if you're on the novice level, but will also allow you to build some pretty robust applications.

Just askin'

Re:Not to sound like a fanboi.... (0, Troll)

MrMr (219533) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376571)

Perhaps he couldn't get past the 5000 levels of corporate hierarchy to find the underpaid anonymous C#/VB.Net programmer working in the broom-closet in the basement of a Bombay-based programming sweatshop?

not to not sound like a fanboi btw...

Re:Not to sound like a fanboi.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16377233)

They're not in the list because they don't deserve to be there. C# is a rebranded version of Java, which itself is a waste of computing resources motivated by an utterly false promise of multi platform compatibility (nearly all non trivial Java programs depend on non portable C++ libraries to do the critical stuff).
VBdotNet doesn't even deserve to be mentioned among programming languages. If you're stuck to the Windows monoculture but still need a good development system around an easy -and- powerful language go get an old version of Delphi. This version [torrentspy.com] will run also on Linux. No, it's not Kylix, it's an illegal torrent of an ultra illegally optimized version of native Delphi 7 that runs nicely and illegally under Wine and produces illegal windows executables.
Damn.. those illegal-terrorists-communists-hippies. Hurry! Call the police!

What about John Carmack? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16376511)

I consider Carmack to be one of the greatest programmers, I wonder if the guy asked him.

He forgot one.. (1)

saboola (655522) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376599)

The anonymous hero at IBM that wrote hero.bas for qbasic.

DECLARE FUNCTION ExplodeGorilla (x#, y#)

Lots of people are critical of the list (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376631)

But who would be the top programmers to interview? A lot of the famous names are (a) dead, and (b) never actually wrote a line of code in their lives.

Plastics (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376749)

Then they said, in unison, "one word for you young man, Plastics".

I wonder.... (3, Funny)

JaJ_D (652372) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376783)

what Jarosaw "sztywny" Rzeszótko is worth at scrabble....

cat and lister playing scrabble
cat places sztywny on the board

Lister: is that a word?
cat : yes it's a cat word for when you get you privates caught it your zip
Lister: is it in the dictionary
cat: could be if you're reading it in the nude and close it quickly cat demostrates the action and result

With appropriate apologies

;-]

Communication (1)

ScorpFromHell (837952) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376907)

Communication being stated as a very important skill by more than one of the Greats was a definite surprise to me, since it is, IMHO, not addressed usually. Thats the thing which almost all the just-out-of-the-greatest-college-with-the-best-gra des programmers seem to lack.

Math (4, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 7 years ago | (#16376933)

An interesting thing I noticed is the disagreement of what is "math" when talking about programming. I think it's a matter where you come from. If you started with mathematics and went into programming, then I guess everything is math.

On the other hand, a self-taught programmer often sees pretty much everything as "programming". "Math" is then algebra and all that boring stuff they learned in school like trigonometry, which they never use when coding. From this point of view, graphs, trees, recursion, etc are just programming concepts and not seen as necessarily related to the underlying mathematics.

This seems to explain the confusion that occurs when a student asks "do I need math?" to an experienced professional. The student understands math as in elementary algebra, trigonomery, derivation and matrices, and wonders what's the point all of all that when probably nowhere in the Linux kernel there's any need to derivate anything.

Old News/Post!!!!! (1)

Rockgod (962796) | more than 7 years ago | (#16377019)

Why did the submitter think an article that was created on July of 2006 fresh enough to be posted on a forum which is News for nerds. An article that old is hardly news.

Dave? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16377143)

Shouldn't that be "Dave Thomas (Wendy's)"?

Re:Dave? (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 7 years ago | (#16377275)

Perhaps "Dave Thomas (SCTV)"
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