Interesting Answers from Great Programmers

Stiff sent a list of ten questions to a smattering of the world’s best programmers. This included such luminaries as James Gosling, Dave Thomas, Linus Torvalds, Guido Van Rossum, and more.

Surprisingly, most of them answered. The answers were very intesrting. You can definitely see the personalities come through in their answers. Read through the questions and answers and see, for example, if you can pick out who consistently has “human” centered answers and who consistently has “technically” centered answers. This came through most clearly in the answers to What do you think makes some programmers 10 or 100 times more productive than others?.


One of my favorite answers was Steve Yegge’s answer to What do you think will be the next big thing in computer programming? (mostly because it mirrors my own opinion):

I think web application programming is gradually going to become the most important client-side programming out there. I think it will mostly obsolete all other client-side toolkits: GTK, Java Swing/SWT, Qt, and of course all the platform-specific ones like Cocoa and Win32/MFC/etc.

It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s very slowly been going that direction for ten years, and it could well be another ten years before web apps “win”. The tools, languages, APIs, protocols, and browser technology will all have to improve far beyond what you can accomplish with them today. But each year they get a little closer, and I’ve finally decided to switch all my own app development over to browser-based programming from now on.

Microsoft and Apple definitely don’t want this to happen, so a necessary first step will be for an open-source browser such as Firefox to achieve a dominant market position, which will in turn require some sort of Firefox-only killer app. (A killer app would be something like iTunes, something that everyone in the world wants to use, badly enough to download Firefox for it.)


One response to “Interesting Answers from Great Programmers

  1. I guess Firefox is OK, but I have always strived for efficiency when I write code. Firefox is just so damn slow. I was running on a 500 mhz amd-k6 running Debian and KDE. I tried Gnome, but it was slower than KDE 3.4, so I switched back. I found Opera about a year ago and started using it. It was much faster and although at first there were some problems displaying a few sites (dark backgrounds that would be in front of the text and other issues), it is now very good. We have a company Sharepoint portal that I could not log into with Firefox, but Opera worked. I think Opera is a better basic browser, although I do not know if it has all of Firefox’s capabilities.

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