Reader oranghutan brings us another in Computerworld's series of interviews with icons of the programming world, this one with Brian Kernighan
, who helped popularize C with his book (co-written with the creator Dennis Ritchie) The C Programming Language
, and contributed to the development of AWK and AMPL. In the past we've chewed over a few other interviews in this series, including those with Martin Odersky on Scala
and Larry Wall on perl
. "In this interview, Brian Kernighan shares his tips for up-and-coming programmers and his thoughts on Ruby, Perl, and Java. He also discusses whether the classic book The Practice of Programming, co-written with Rob Pike, needs an update. He highlights Bill and Melinda Gates as two people doing great things for the world enabled through computer science. Some quotes: 'A typical programmer today spends a lot of time just trying to figure out what methods to call from some giant package and probably needs some kind of IDE like Eclipse or XCode to fill in the gaps. There are more languages in regular use and programs are often distributed combinations of multiple languages. All of these facts complicate life, though it's possible to build quite amazing systems quickly when everything goes right.' 'Every language teaches you something, so learning a language is never wasted, especially if it's different in more than just syntactic trivia.'"