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Tim Bray's Top Twenty Software People in the World 418

Posted by michael
from the li-nus-li-nus-li-nus-li-nus dept.
jg21 writes "Although this reader-compiled list of software development's giants omits pioneers like George Boole, John Louis von Neumann, and the 'Forgotten Father of the Computer' John Vincent Atanasoff - among others - it does a pretty good job of mapping the Code Masters, from Alan Turing who gave us the algorithm, to Klaus Knopper the one-man band behind Knoppix. They're mostly here - the inventors of C, C++, C#, Java, and Python; example. There are a couple of programmers who have snuck in more for their business acumen than their programming talent, like the former Powersoft/Sybase CEO Mitchell Kertzman but otherwise the 40 nominees seem pretty 'pure' and the overall idea is to narrow the list down to the Top Twenty Software People in the World - a phrase invented by Tim Bray, who blogged that Adam Bosworth would be among them. Be careful what you wish for when blogging - looks like Bray's about to find out who the community thinks the the 19 others are."
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Tim Bray's Top Twenty Software People in the World

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  • Ada Lovelace? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nine Tenths of The W (829559) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @08:11AM (#11059549)
    Where be she?
    • Re:Ada Lovelace? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dammital (220641) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @08:35AM (#11059622)
      Good catch, Nine Tenths. The Lady Ada [wikipedia.org] was the first person I thought of. Yet they, struggling to find a token woman for their list, come up with some venture capitalist that nobody has ever heard of outside of Silly Valley?

      Yeah, these "top ten" lists are a crock.

      • Re:Ada Lovelace? (Score:5, Informative)

        by julesh (229690) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @08:45AM (#11059655)
        Yet they, struggling to find a token woman for their list, come up with some venture capitalist that nobody has ever heard of outside of Silly Valley?

        Not even Grace Hopper [wikipedia.org], developer of the first compiled high level programming language? Sheesh.
        • Grace Hopper (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Grace Hopper beats anyone on this list, frankly. There's more COBOL doing more real work right now (like debiting and crediting your bank accounts) than, say, Turbo Pascal and C#. (Come on.) And that's decades after her innovation.
    • According the book "The Difference Engine" by Swade she didn't contribute all that much. She was more of a hanger-on who enjoyed listening to Babbage's lectures and then writing about them. She was more of a promoter than anything else. She could definitely make a list of the Top Twenty Hardware Reviewers.
  • damn... (Score:5, Funny)

    by dynoman7 (188589) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @08:15AM (#11059555) Homepage
    ...didn't make the list again.

    • Don't feel bad... (Score:3, Informative)

      by dpilot (134227)
      They missed Randy Waterhouse, too. After all, he invented one of the early computers, complete with accoustic delay lines.
  • by ellem (147712) * <(ellem52) (at) (gmail.com)> on Saturday December 11, 2004 @08:15AM (#11059557) Homepage Journal
    Where's Larry Wall?
    • by binary42 (801099)
      That and where is Yukihiro Matsumoto? I would be nowhere today without the three scripting language fathers.

      Oh well... the list would be too long as there are many more that i can think of.
    • No kidding. I'm not a Perl fan, but if Guido van Rossum is on the list of nominees, Larry Wall really ought to be as well.
      • by murr (214674) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @11:58AM (#11060534)
        I'm not a Perl fan, but if Guido van Rossum is on the list of nominees, Larry Wall really ought to be as well.

        I am a Perl fan, and though I respect van Rossum's abilities and accomplishments, Larry Wall also wrote patch, rn, and metaconfig, so he has a broader impact on Unix culture.
  • by AirLace (86148) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @08:18AM (#11059570)
    I'm finding it difficult to see any non-male names on that list. Discuss.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      A woman's place is under the computer desk, not behind it.
    • Re:Female hackers (Score:4, Interesting)

      by TheoMurpse (729043) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @08:25AM (#11059596) Homepage
      your post made me think of an interesting cultural thing about japan i heard here (in japan)

      typing was always considered "women's work" so when computers came about, and computers were equated with typing, so computers became "women's tools" by extension

      only recently have computers become popular with men...one reason is that cute girls are featured on the covers of many computer magazines...much like hot rod magazines in the states

      except personally i prefer the girls in the computer magazines
  • by marcovje (205102) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @08:20AM (#11059576)

    Do we want to forget C nowadays or so?
    • Agreed; i would've liked to see them credited for C in the main page. Seems like a major oversight; after all, C is still one of the most popular languages of the world, if not the most popular.

      But then again, there're a lot of people missing in that list: Knuth, Lovelace, Von Neumman, Babbage....
  • ...where's the cowboyneal option?
  • It's sad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 11, 2004 @08:23AM (#11059586)
    It's a pity that, nearly half a century since Turing was driven to suicide by poison apple, being gay is still such a big issue that many coders are afraid to "come out", afraid of the intolerance, afraid of the flaming, and afraid of being looked down on by their peers.

    I, personally, know several practising homosexuals on a variety of Open Source projects who simply deny their nature to fit in with the overall its-all-just-fun gay bashing "f4gg0RT" repartee on places like Slashdot and major mailing lists. They are represented at the highest levels of software development, including two major contributors and maintainers of the Linux kernel.

    In many ways the subculture of Open Source software has some catching up to do: it's amateur userbase tolerates the neolithic attitudes towards women and gays that mainstream society has rid itself of years ago.

    I fully expect, as usual, to be modded down for this post. Posting anonymously: had to change username to avoid harassment after the last post.
    • In many ways the subculture of Open Source software has some catching up to do: it's amateur userbase tolerates the neolithic attitudes towards women and gays that mainstream society has rid itself of years ago.

      Are you talking about the same mainstream society that stifles intellect, creativity, and independence in little girls by training them to base their self-esteem on their appearance; the same mainstream society that votes for politicians who are trying to add a constitutional amendment to ban gay m

    • ... its-all-just-fun gay bashing "f4gg0RT" repartee on places like Slashdot and major mailing lists.

      I don't see that on SlashDot, except for lame loser trolls. And if I saw that on any mailing list I subscribe to, the author would regret it.

      I won't claim that the IT world is free of intolerance (of any sort) but I know quite a few openly homosexual people who don't seem to have any problem with it (and many seem to find IT careers more tolerant of diverse lifestyles than other fields in which they h


    • I, personally, know several practising homosexuals

      What, haven't they perfected it yet?

      Sorry. Lame joke, I know. Seriously, it is an absolute tragedy what Britain did to Alan Turing - he made a huge contribution to saving Britain from the Nazis, and they repay him by driving him to suicide.
  • by roxtar (795844) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @08:26AM (#11059597) Homepage Journal
    I havent gone throught the list thoroughly but of the names I have seen I havent come to notice the names of emminent personalities from the academic world. Names like that of Donald E Knuth are missing from the list. The list consists of people who have made software which went on to become big. But that wouldn't have been possible without the academic research put in.
    • Tanenbaum is on the list.. However, this is a list that takes the main people into account. It's not like Linus Torvalds did everything on his own, and all of them probably based a lot of their stuff on research, but these are the guys who are credited for the work and got it into the open.
    • "The Twenty Top Software People in the World" isn't very specific. The list seems to be mainly language designers, which strikes me as a rather perverse interpretation.
  • bah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 11, 2004 @08:26AM (#11059598)
    The list is mostly of "computer pop artists". Where's McCarthy? (discoverer of lisp, the single most influential language in computing). Where's Pierce and Cardelli? Where's Church? How can you have Turing but not Church? That's stupid. It's not called the Church-Turing thesis for nothing, you know.

    WTF is a shyster like de Icaza (attempted to bring the worst features of windows to linux) doing on a list with Mitch Kapor (discovered the spreadsheet)?

    • by jcr (53032)
      attempted to bring the worst features of windows to linux

      That is not at all fair to de Icaza. Sure, .NET is crap, but until there's an equivalent available on Linux, there will be a lot of resistence to replacing MS windoze in many applications. It's just like WINE, or any other emulator or compatibility library.

      -jcr
    • by jcr (53032)
      One other thing: Kapor didn't invent the spreadsheet. That was Bricklin and his colleagues at VisiCorp.

      -jcr
  • knuth? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sangudu (728504) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @08:28AM (#11059604)
    What about Knuth?
    He is the worlds best programmer ever and creator
    of tex and metafont systems in which most of
    academic publications are done.
    His works have taugth todays software engineers
    algorithms data structures and algorithm analysis.
    Bad that he missed out.
    • Actually he really is the father of wordprocessing, as most if not all took algorithyms out of Tex to use in their own wordprocessing programs.

      Not to mention he is also the father of codifying algorythm research.
  • by gtoomey (528943) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @08:29AM (#11059605)
    There are some recent technologists, but I think others have made great contributions to computer science:

    Charles Babbage - inventor of ther difference Engine
    Ada Lovelace - first programmer
    John von Neumann - random access macines
    John Backus - Fortran, BNF, compiler design
    Don Knuth - "The Art of Computer Programming", algorithm design
    as well as McCarthy & Alan Robinson(AI), Dijstra (structured programming, semaphores), Hoare (CSP)

    • Hear, hear!

      I think it's rampantly clueless to omit (esp.) Von Neumann and Knuth from this list.

    • Charles Babbage's Difference Engine isn't really that much about programming, in spite of the book by Gibson/Sterling. His Analytical Engine is more like it, but this one never got built, being too complex for mid-19th-century mechanics.

      Calling Ada Lovelace the first programmer is a bit off, too. She wrote a translation of Babbage's work along with a commentary on how to build the Analytical Engine, including some notes on how it might be programmed, but then, the machine she's supposed to have been prog
    • John von Neumann - random access macines

      I think you're trying to describe the so-called Von Neumann Machine. Having RAM is just a detail. What's important is that it treats programming code as a kind of data. Which might seem trivial to anybody who's grown up since the PC revolution, but which was a big conceptual breakthrough when it happened.

      JvN is kind of over-rated, at least as a computer scientist. He made a name for himself as a mathematician and economist, and acquired so much prestige that some

  • I find it a bit odd that for some people, their main qualification is what they have done, and for others it is where they work now. Does it really matter that so-and-so is now with Google, Sun, Microsoft, etc?

    To make matters worse, they got wrong the only one that might actually matter: Danny Hillis founded Thinking Machines, not "Think Machines". Huge difference.

  • Game Programmers? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by deconvolution (715827) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @08:33AM (#11059618)
    Where is John Carmack and other game programmers (fill your favourite game designer here)???

    I couldnt understand why he is not greater and more important than such as Don Ferguson: Inventor of the J2EE application server at IBM, or even Jon Gay: The "Father of Flash". ???

    Is flash a ground-breaking application like 3D game/movie engine development? At least, 95% flahes i ve seen is for annoying web adverts...

    • Game programmers tend to be overlooked as "less serious", for some reason beyond me - if you happen to think that, try counting all the time you spent playing games and tell me they aren't important. Also, if anyone is constantly pushing the envelope of what can be done with computers, specially graphically, is them.

      Carmack is one hell of a developer; i've only had chance to check the Quake I/II code, but it was very well written. Not to mention his constant desire to evolve in his area.
    • Re:Game Programmers? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by revscat (35618)
      I'll second this. When the original Wolfenstein came out, there were people up until then who swore that such things were impossible on the hardware of the day (80286s). But here comes Carmack and does something amazing, setting of a revolution in gaming in the process.

      Game developers certainly do not seem to considered "serious" by people like Bray, but I think this is false and ultimately arrogant. Carmack is a great programmer, and certainly one of the greatest Excluding him from this list almost null

    • by Epistax (544591) <epistax.gmail@com> on Saturday December 11, 2004 @11:43AM (#11060449) Journal
      On this note I'd like to give a shout out of Sid Meier for very obvious reasons. I also agree with Carmack. Frankly, I don't think the list is long enough. We're missing the big names from 100 years ago.

      Well anyway the response on slashdot has all been like this so these people obviously haven't been forgotten.
      • by Illserve (56215) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @03:01PM (#11061708)
        Sorry, but Sid Meier goes on a list of top game designers, not programmers.

        Civ was not amazing software, it was an amazing game.

        Quake and Doom, on the other hand, were revolutionary from a programming perspective. Game wise, it was pretty trivial: shoot the other guy.

  • The Top 20 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Exter-C (310390) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @08:42AM (#11059642) Homepage
    At the end of the day there is no way there is a Top20. There has been so much good and bad software written some bad software even has been very innovative and often has features/taken stolen from it for better future software products.

    Where is the top 100 software programmers.. that would at least be more including and give a better all round result of the industry.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 11, 2004 @08:45AM (#11059656)
    What an appalling list, heavily biased to the fashionably recent. Segei Brin may be clever, but he hasn't contributed a tenth of what Don Knuth has, who isn't even on the list.

    There are also complete fields that have been ignored, what about the founding gods of Graphics? Scientific programming? Logic programming? AI?
  • Of course, if these had been included other people would be whining about other omissions. Also, it seems to me like there is a severe open source bias in this list. "stuff that matters" .. bleh.
  • Linus Torvalds... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SilentChris (452960) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @08:50AM (#11059675) Homepage
    I'm not sure I agree with him getting the most "votes" at this point (scroll down the page). Excellent coder, good "top-level" thinker, but would I really put him in front of the guys who made Unix, Java, and even the web? Definitely not.
  • I guarantee you these 20 people use the labor of others a lot more than they use their own labor. Why do we always obsess over people who are supposedly the best at something?
    • "I guarantee you these 20 people use the labor of others a lot more than they use their own labor. Why do we always obsess over people who are supposedly the best at something?"

      That is a typical thing to say for a communist.

      Why is it that you have such problems with admitting that some individuals are more gifted than others?

      And while you claim to despise individualism, you worship individuals like that mass murderer che guevara.

  • Where is Nolan Bushnell, creator of pong [ideafinder.com], which launched a generation of games that could be plugged into the TV, ancestor to the xbox, playstation, and nintendo?
  • How dare they omit john backus? He invented fortran, which is still the most often used language for scientific calculations. And he pioneered functional programming.

    He deserves to be on top of this list for this publication [stanford.edu] alone.
  • Al Khowarizmi (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    820 A.D. whose name is where the English word "algorithm" originates. Not exactly a 'giant' but a founder.
  • by El_Muerte_TDS (592157) <elmuerte.drunksnipers@com> on Saturday December 11, 2004 @09:17AM (#11059755) Homepage
    Where is Al Gore on the list?
    • He's not on the list because he's not a software guy. He's a social hacker.
    • Poor Al. He gets teased about than a has the election stolen. On the Internet he said:

      "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet."

      First, he didn't say "invent" and second its he did help its creation.
      Vincent Cert said:

      "The Internet would not be where it is in the United States without the strong support given to it and related research areas by the Vice President in his current role and in his earlier role as Senator."

  • So I rtfa. The "feedback" link in the article has a pretty good list of the omissions. The list was shown to /. after the 40 choices were winnowed out by a much smaller [and apparently less well educated or younger] audiance than /.
    /. readers have noted that the gods who gave us the first languages like cobol and fortran and lisp are not on the list. [Where, for instance, is Aiken whose APL spawned two dozen derivitive languages [murdoch.edu.au]?] If you leave the selection up to a group of readers who can stomach wa
  • Jamie Zawinski deserves a nomination. Among many other things, he was instrumental in the creation of Lucid Emacs (now XEmacs), bringing many innovations to the Emacs world.

    On another note, the list is stupid. I mean, why choose the creator of SOAP, yet another (little-known?) protocol, over so many others? And who is Ann Winblad?

    Eric Raymond (however controversial) definitely also deserves to be in the list.

  • Other than the great Alan Turing... What happened to other greats like Edsger Dijkstra, or John Backus? These are the real greats of software.

    Bob
  • Where are... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <jcrNO@SPAMmac.com> on Saturday December 11, 2004 @09:35AM (#11059808) Journal
    Alan Kay, Steve Wozniak, Bill Atkinson, Bud Tribble, Avie Tevanian, Richard Feynman, John Warnock, Evans & Sutherland?

    -jcr
  • No Larry Wall? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by flounder99 (64090) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @09:40AM (#11059828)
    How did they forget Larry Wall? Perl is the duct tape of the programming world. Slash is even written in Perl.
    • Re:No Larry Wall? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MalleusEBHC (597600)
      Slash is even written in Perl.

      I'm not going to point any fingers, but I'm pretty sure there is a reason why Larry Wall didn't make the list.
  • by Jrod5000 at RPI (229934) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @09:40AM (#11059829)
    This list purposely doesn't include technology-du-jour and instead focuses on those whose ideas have had long-standing impact. http://www.softwarehistory.org/history/important_p eople.html [softwarehistory.org] Reading about all the exciting things these people have accomplished is really motivating.

  • I also miss N. Wirth
  • Is this story some kind of troll? They included Linux Thorvalds and Klaus Knoppix, but they left out Bill Gates [microsoft.com] :)
    • Well, you can't compare Bill to Linus or Klaus, because Bill didn't write Windows. but I do agree he should be on the list

      Like him or not, Bill Gates was the guy who really made it so developers could get paid. In his famous open letter to hobbyists [blinkenlights.com] Bill outlined the modern software industry, which he and a few others subsequently created. I'm as open source as everyone else on this board (except for those people Microsoft pays to post here [slashdot.org]) but I recognize the fact that Bill and Microsoft changed comp

      • Like him or not, Bill Gates was the guy who really made it so developers could get paid.

        I get paid to write software and none of it has anything to do with Mr. Gates's model of the modern software industry.

        And what I do is pretty common.

        Are you making the mistake of assuming that the shrinkwrap software industry represents the software-by-contract/service industry? It's a big mistake to make, since one is about 20-30 times larger than the other.

        In fact, it's the open source "community" that does

  • What about Edsger Dijkstra [wikipedia.org]?
    • It seems that the list favors practitioners and not those who researched the theories. I am missing Codd, Dijkstra and deMarco.
  • Edgar Codd, mathematician, published in the 70es his paper "A relational model of data for large Shared Data Banks":

    http://www.acm.org/classics/nov95/toc.html

    SQL was then developed by Chamberlin and Ray Boyce. I see them all absent from the list.
  • Years ahead of its time, as were its successors the B5500 and B6500/6700/6800 etc. One of the first machines designed with high level languages in mind.

    http://www.ajwm.net/amayer/papers/B5000.html

    Google will find loads of useful info for those interested.
  • *Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
    *This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.

    Suggesting a poll idea to them probably won't do much, though.

  • Silly (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ChTh (453374)
    Unbelievable that the inventor of Flash is included but none, that I can see, from the CSRG at Berkeley that designed and implemented TCP/IP, BSD etc. This list is just an expression of personal preferences rather than merits.
  • Is it me, or was the web page refered to by this story an absolute carbuncle on the face of the Internet? Most of it was advertisments crammed in, colourfully flashing. You had to scroll down half way before the article even started. Remove the ads, and the entire content would probably fit in a single browser window without the need to scroll... at 640x480.

    A total waste of bandwidth. I'd have been very disappointed had I visited this page when I was on the move using GPRS (which you pay for by the kilobyt
  • Where is Alan Kay? Inventor of Smalltalk, the reference in terms of object-oriented languages, the inventor of overlapping windows, he worked on so many projects, visionner of the laptop computer, it's not even funny: ARPA, Ethernet, the laser printer, client/server networks, etc.

    I think Mr. Kay should positively be on that list. Where would all the Java, C# and C++ people be without Smalltalk?

  • Top twenty software people in the world: Bill Gates.

    Well, he purchased all twenty spaces, so there is nobody else listed.

    ...

    Just had to add this: If Windows is an operating system, then I am Santa Claus.

  • For your convenience here is a sorted list of people according to the votes they have gotten so far:

    1 151 Torvalds
    2 120 Turing
    3 105 Stallman
    4 101 Ritchie
    5 101 Berners-Lee
    6 78 Thompson
    7 60 Stroustrup
    8 52 Kernighan
    9 47 Rossum
    10 45 Oreilly
    11 42 Joy
    12 41 Hejlsberg
    13 39 Gay
    14 33 Fielding
    15 30 Tanenbaum
    16 30 Gosling
    17 29 Booch
    18 28 Pike
    19 27 Brin
    20 25 Cutler
    21 23 Bricklin
    22 19 Knopper
    23 19
  • "In trying to make programming predictable, computer scientists have mostly succeeded in making it boring"

    -- Larry Wall, interview in The Perl Journal [tpj.com], vol. 1 issue 1.


    So is this the list of a few who cannot be left out, complemented by the boring ones?

    As others have already said:

    Where is Ada Lovelace [slashdot.org]? Where's Larry Wall [slashdot.org]? etc.

    Maybe someone needs to start another list...
  • The list is horribly tilted towards PC applications.

    It does not deal with the important roles of networking, embedded computing or methodology except in token ways.

    For example, including Booch as the sole methodologist is absurd. What about Dijkstra? Wirth? Yourdon? Mellor?

    The relational database and thrid normalized form also seem to be totally overlooked, even though they made the entire IT industry possible. How about Date?

    Then there's networking itself. Where's Jon Postel?

    It also favors

  • Moronic (Score:3, Informative)

    by tbray (95102) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @12:28PM (#11060702) Homepage Journal
    This idea is moronic, the list is woefully incomplete, I had nothing to with it, and they shouldn't be using my name like that.
  • by solarrhino (581267) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @01:28PM (#11061046) Homepage Journal
    You know, when I looked at this list, I found myself disappointed. Sure, there are some big important guys, but software is more than about applications and the big picture. It's also about the technology, and creating new abstractions. And in a lot of ways, the guy who first invented debugging is a lot more important to the success of computer science than anybody listed there.

    It may be because I'm an old fart, but I remember the excitement of learning each new abstraction, either as I discovered it, or as it was invented. And it seemed to me that the creation of those abstractions are the really great deeds of computer science. Maybe nobody knows who had those break-through moments first, but I'm sure that they occured, and they seem to be to the the Great Moments in computer science.

    1) The first guy to think "I shouldn't have to rewire, I should be able to write instructions that rewire it for me" - i.e., the assembler moment

    2) The first guy to realize "I'm not just re-wiring this, I'm describing an procedure for it to use" - the FORTRAN moment

    3) The first guy to ask "Why can't I used the same procedure from different places in my code" - the subroutine moment

    4) The first guy to say "I should be able to use the subroutine in the program it already knows" - the library moment

    5) The first guy to ask "Why do I have to be the one writing down the results?" - the printer moment

    6) The first guy to realize "This isn't just a calculator, it's also a controller!" - the embedded moment

    7) The first guy to realize "This isn't just a calculator, it's also a storage system!" - the database moment

    8) The first guy to realize "This isn't just a calculator, it's also a communication system!" - the network moment

    9) The first guy to realize "I'm not just submitting instructions for it to process - it's submiting instructions back for me to process!" - the interactive moment

    10) The first guy to think "Why can't it do something else while its waiting?" - the multitasking moment

    11) The first guy to think "Why can't it show me more context while I work?" - the full-screen moment

    And finally...

    12) The first guy to think "Man, why can't this thing show me some chicks?" - the porn moment
    • by Pseudonym (62607) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @06:45PM (#11063038)

      Well, I can fill in a few.

      2) The first guy to realize "I'm not just re-wiring this, I'm describing an procedure for it to use" - the FORTRAN moment

      Babbage and Lovelace. Though the award for the first implementation (i.e. the compiler) goes to Grace Hopper.

      3) The first guy to ask "Why can't I used the same procedure from different places in my code" - the subroutine moment

      Turing.

      5) The first guy to ask "Why do I have to be the one writing down the results?" - the printer moment

      Nice try, but radio teletype predates the computer. Interestingly, in the Unix-esque world, we still use the acronym "tty".

      6) The first guy to realize "This isn't just a calculator, it's also a controller!" - the embedded moment

      Hard to say, but it probably came from the days when older computers were used as card-to-tape transfer systems.

      7) The first guy to realize "This isn't just a calculator, it's also a storage system!" - the database moment

      Probably Vannevar Bush gets the award for the "aha" moment (even though he never actually built a database system). The name for the "top 20" list is E.F. Codd, for the invention of the relational model. He's actually a very odd omission.

      8) The first guy to realize "This isn't just a calculator, it's also a communication system!" - the network moment

      Once again, radio teletype and the facsimile predate the computer, but the award probably goes to George Steblitz.

      9) The first guy to realize "I'm not just submitting instructions for it to process - it's submiting instructions back for me to process!" - the interactive moment

      That's a tough one. A lot of people realised this early on, but it's a hardware problem and an operating system problem more than a software problem.

      10) The first guy to think "Why can't it do something else while its waiting?" - the multitasking moment

      That's a hard one, because you need to distinguish between multi-programming, multi-tasking and time-sharing. Probably a toss-up between Bob Bemer and Christopher Strachey.

      11) The first guy to think "Why can't it show me more context while I work?" - the full-screen moment

      That relies on the invention of the screen. Probably Douglas Engelbart wins this one.

      12) The first guy to think "Man, why can't this thing show me some chicks?" - the porn moment

      Again, a tough one. Honourable mention goes to the geeks at USC who digitized the Lena image some time in early 1973.

  • by tyrione (134248) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @02:59AM (#11064963) Homepage

    Without him NeXTSTEP would have not been. Tim Berner's Lee would have had one hell of a time developing the first WWW Browser.

    All the advancements that people are wooing about in Linux, Java and IDE Development Tools were commonplace in NeXTSTEP and its development tools.

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