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Interview With Brian Kernighan of AWK/AMPL Fame 117

Posted by kdawson
from the series-of-pipes dept.
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.'"
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Interview With Brian Kernighan of AWK/AMPL Fame

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  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @08:09AM (#29668387)

    There are a few books I recommend to kids just starting out in the industry.

    Code Complete
    Writing Solid Code
    Programming Pearls
    and The Practice of Programming

    Even old stalwarts like Kernighan's The C Programming Language aren't as useful in the longterm as the 4 books above are.

    Anyone who wants to make the jump from "code monkey" to professional should really take the time to read the books.

    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @08:18AM (#29668451) Homepage Journal

      Right. The four books you mentioned aren't books for teaching you about a programming language or a particular technique, unlike K&R, which focuses just on C. They are designed to teach how to think like a programmer and how write code like professional software developer. They are more about the fundamental nature of coding; they're not as much about trying to teach you the basics as they are about trying to teach you what you really need to know to successfully take a programming project through the development cycle as a coder.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by yankpop (931224)

        unlike K&R, which focuses just on C

        If you just skim through K&R, then yes, I can see why you'd think it was 'just on C'. But if you actually sit down and work through the problems, you'll find a lot more depth. Of course, it's all C code, but some of those exercises are deceptively challenging, and they really helped me to move beyond the mechanics of the language and start thinking about coding in a more sophisticated way.

        The other books mentioned provide important insights into different aspects o

        • If you just skim through K&R, then yes, I can see why you'd think it was 'just on C'. But if you actually sit down and work through the problems, you'll find a lot more depth. Of course, it's all C code, but some of those exercises are deceptively challenging, and they really helped me to move beyond the mechanics of the language and start thinking about coding in a more sophisticated way.

          I not only read K&R, it was the book that taught me to code in C.

          Getting beyond the mechanics of a programming language and learning to code in a more sophisticated way doesn't just happen by reading a book, it's something brought on by experience both in coding and in studying other people's work. That's one of the things I love most about open source -- you have the opportunity study the work of the source community's finest coders, from Linus Torvalds to RMS to Andrew Tridgell.

      • by SL Baur (19540)

        Brian K. was co-author of the seminal book Elements of Programming Style http://www.amazon.com/Elements-Programming-Style-Brian-Kernighan/dp/0070342075 [amazon.com] - one of the most important computer programming books ever written.

    • by Nazlfrag (1035012) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @08:40AM (#29668599) Journal

      Thats because you're comparing training manuals to technical manuals. K&C is still useful to this day as a standard reference that still works all these years past. The only thing similar is Knuths works, one of the few compsci works created that serves as both a training and technical reference. (kids - read Shannon thouroughly as well, starting with "A Mathematical Theory of Communication")

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      I think you're missing the point of "The C Programming Language." It wasn't (isn't) a book about programming, it basically set the standard for the C programming language at the time. It's a reference manual, not a guide on how to write code.
    • by Dan667 (564390)
      mythical man month
      design patterns

      those are two must have books.
  • If a programmer needs to use an IDE, as opposed to just using one for convenience, something is very wrong.
    • by lannocc (568669)

      If a programmer needs to use an IDE, as opposed to just using one for convenience, something is very wrong.

      Perhaps, but don't draw such a hard line. Time constraints can easily push a "convenience" to the "need" category. Sure we can get everything done in the simplest text editor but an IDE is a big help for things like looking up unfamiliar method signatures.

    • Re:"Need" an IDE (Score:4, Insightful)

      by OzPeter (195038) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @08:26AM (#29668491)

      If a programmer needs to use an IDE, as opposed to just using one for convenience, something is very wrong.

      Once you cover the basic needs of food and shelter, everything after that becomes a convenience

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by drbinofski (1650115)

        If a programmer needs to use an IDE, as opposed to just using one for convenience, something is very wrong.

        Once you cover the basic needs of food and shelter, everything after that becomes a convenience

        So this would be the application of Maslow's Hierachy of Needs to programming!?

        • Yup. Oz is say the computer needs power and storage (or maybe a case? Dunno). It'll hum along perfectly happy without having an OS. It won't be very useful, of course, but....
    • Re:"Need" an IDE (Score:5, Insightful)

      by characterZer0 (138196) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @08:33AM (#29668531)

      I need an IDE to do my job. I could lay out graphical forms by hand, but it would take long enough as to not be profitable.

      • Re:"Need" an IDE (Score:5, Interesting)

        by AuMatar (183847) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @04:04PM (#29673797)

        When the hell did laying out graphical forms become programming?

      • That's highly dependent on the language you program in. I find laying out Java GUI is best done by writing layout code manually, in either VIM or some IDE. As a matter of fact, in many instances (other than dialogs) you can not lay out GUI with a form editor, at least not when majority of your GUI components are heavily customized deep class hierarchies that subclass standard components.

        But I do agree with the general sentiment that it's much much easier to explore and learn code hierarchies with a good IDE

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If you're writing unmaintainable code that never gets refactored, with single letter variable names and endless ugly hacks to fix endless bugs, many due to earlier design descisions that can't be fixed because you can't easily refactor, then yes, you're probably correct.

      But I'm a good developer, none of those things apply to my code, and I find development in a full featured IDE infinitely more productive.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Ahaha, yeah, keep telling yourself that when you "program" your shell scripts.

    • Re:"Need" an IDE (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mauddib~ (126018) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @08:46AM (#29668613) Homepage

      In my very humble opinion, tools such as Emacs and vi are precursors to larger development environments, such as Eclipse or Delphi. In your case, and assuming my argument is true, we would all be going back to flipping switches and pressing buttons, since that's the only true way of understanding the code.

      If you don't accept my argument, then why are syntax highlighting, :make macros and identifier matching part of every vi install nowadays? And don't even get me started about emacs, which design purposes was to help programmers write better code. So, if you don't accept my premise, where do you draw the line?

      For me, this development can't go fast enough. I'm looking forward to languages that integrate completely with an IDE, and leave simple character representation (ASCII e.a.) behind.

      • Re:"Need" an IDE (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @09:24AM (#29668913)

        I think you draw the line when a language "requires" an IDE so bloated that it runs slow on a Core 2 Duo machine, and makes you want to code in Notepad instead, except you can't because the language is too convoluted.

        • Re:"Need" an IDE (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Abcd1234 (188840) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:36AM (#29670489) Homepage

          I think you draw the line when a language "requires" an IDE so bloated that it runs slow on a Core 2 Duo machine, and makes you want to code in Notepad instead, except you can't because the language is too convoluted.

          1) Uh, since when did the nature of a language dictate how fast/slow an IDE implementation is?
          2) Why, dear god, would a slow IDE be evidence that a language sucks?
          3) What language are you using that is "too convoluted" to use outside of an IDE? Because I've used quite a few, and I've yet to come across *any* language that "requires" an IDE.

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            3) What language are you using that is "too convoluted" to use outside of an IDE? Because I've used quite a few, and I've yet to come across *any* language that "requires" an IDE.

            INTERCAL

      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Look at Color forth. It is mostly ASCII but each word has a color associated with it which isn't ASCII.

        http://www.colorforth.com/cf.html

        • by mauddib~ (126018)

          Yes, I have actually spend some percentage of my time to try to understand colourforth. Sadly, I did that.

      • Labview (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AliasMarlowe (1042386)

        I'm looking forward to languages that integrate completely with an IDE

        Try Labview. And weep.

        and leave simple character representation (ASCII e.a.) behind.

        That's Labview - no plaintext representation at all. You'll be begging for one soon enough, with or without an IDE, unless your programs are at the "hello world" level of complexity. Some of the reasons are specific to Labview's failings. For instance, version management and project organization exist only as pathetic useless pretences, which obstruct rather than assist. Other reasons are intrinsic to the non-character representation. Try doing a diff between two Labview files, or even

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Doctor_Jest (688315)
          Having used LabVIEW for about 15 years now, I can safely say that it ain't all that bad. The diagrams are intuitive, and for what it does, it does well. Doing a Diff is as simple as using the "compare" tool in LV itself. (It even circles the differences for you...) It doesn't replace python for my text manipulation and other quick turnaround code, and LV CERTAINLY doesn't replace C for the good stuff. (I prefer Vi, but I can use emacs just as well..) It pays not to be pigeon-holed. :)

          Is it perfect? F
          • The data-flow paradigm is easy to dismiss as junk, but once you get a handle on it.. it is as intuitive as breathing when you're writing a VI to control a device (or 10). :) it just sounds like you don't like LabVIEW because it's graphical (I had the same prejudice when I started using it), but taking the time to master it means you can write just about anything with it... and that's the mark of a good language.

            Your mention of 10 devices is unimpressive, and close to trivial in complexity. I can't reveal exactly what kind of applications I've worked with without giving away my employer's ID, which I decline to do. However, we use Labview for distributed applications involving coordinated operation of hundreds of different instruments (often with necessarily very elaborate interfaces) providing several thousand real-time measurements, arrays of manipulated actuators controlled using elaborate algorithms (nonlinear

            • What I work on is something I am not at liberty to discuss either (go figure), but 10 devices, yes, is no big deal even in Visual Basic. But like I said, YMMV, and for our purposes, LV fits the bill nicely. And has (at least for the company I work for) for decades. I didn't choose LV, rather I inherited lots of LV apps for controlling the myriad of internally built and COTS devices we use every day for analysis and data collection.

              When it fails to solve the data flow dependency, then timing of data copyi

        • Re:Labview (Score:5, Interesting)

          by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @12:54PM (#29671507) Journal

          There may be a non-character-based program representation (useful for developing and maintaining non-trivial projects) in the future, but I fear we'll all be retired or expired by then

          This has been tried numerous times. It just doesn't work, period.

          More recently, I recall reading an interesting interview with Microsoft "project Oslo" guys. Oslo is supposed to be a DSL framework for .NET. Now, existing releases already have something called "DSL SDK", integrated into VS, but the "DSLs" that it lets you create are purely graphical, like flowcharts, and have to be "coded" using a visual designer.

          That didn't exactly catch on, and Oslo guys explained that one of the most repeated customer feedbacks was that, while visual designers are occasionally useful, in the end it's still faster and easier to spend half an hour training, and then write DSL code as actual text in a text editor. Note: not for a programmer, but for a business analyst, or some other guy who haven't ever seen any code before!

          So they ditched the visual designer idea in Oslo, and instead came up with the tried and proven approach of parser generators (going for LL(*) over LALR as it's simpler to use and less restrictive, even if slower), and coupled it with a text editor that can load a grammar for the parser generator, and automatically provide syntax highlighting and simple completion for it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Angst Badger (8636)

        While I'm not sure what the low-level representation of the code has to do with anything -- that's a detail that ideally ought to be hidden by the IDE anyway -- I couldn't agree more. There's nothing wrong with better tools, and there are tasks that are flat-out impossible without better tools. Is there something "very wrong" if a traveler can't get from NY to LA in a single day without using an airplane? Of course not.

        I've been programming since the punch card era, and I used to think that the greatest men

        • by mauddib~ (126018)

          Yesyes! Absolutely. Arrogance is the real problem in software engineering, and so is greed. Anyways, I must admit I was completely ignorant of CS history until I started reading about Herbert Simon, Alan Newell, Turing, etc. etc. Now I realize we're truly standing on the shoulders of giants, and we should hallow them instead of despise them. Nevertheless, we should learn from the past, and use it to look ever more forward.

      • I'm looking forward to languages that integrate completely with an IDE, and leave simple character representation (ASCII e.a.) behind.

        I think the closest we might get to that would be Visual Programming Languages [wikipedia.org], but most of them seem to apply only to niches like 3D modeling, animations, teaching, analysis.
        It seems pretty hard to be able to create an "all purpose", like C, Visual Programming Language. Sure, we can always dream.

      • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @10:43AM (#29669823)
        I personally use Emacs, with syntax highlighting and various other modes, because it is helpful and speeds up the process of writing code. There have been times, however, where I have not been able to use Emacs for some reason (e.g. I had to write some code on a system that did not have it installed). Once I was reduced to using a line editor to write some code (yes, in the 21st century), and while I hope to never experience such a situation again, I was able to deal with it and get the work done.

        All too often I see programmers who are completely helpless when they cannot use their favorite IDE, which is the problem I was alluding to. An IDE is a great tool that can save a lot of time, but when it gets to the point where people cannot figure out how to run a Java program without starting up Eclipse, something very bad is going on.
      • Re:"Need" an IDE (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @10:55AM (#29669983) Homepage Journal

        I'm looking forward to languages that integrate completely with an IDE, and leave simple character representation (ASCII e.a.) behind.

        Oh, me too! I can't wait until diff and patch no longer work, and every version control system has to explicitly support every distinct language, and examples on Stack Overflow are files you have to download and open in an IDE before you can examine them, and Google has to learn each language's binary serialization so that it can search code snippets.

        In a time when every other type of file is moving to standardized formats, I just love the idea of my industry balkanizing into a million crap representations. That is certain to make us all more productive.

        • by mauddib~ (126018)

          I can't wait until diff and patch no longer work,

          Sorry, but on the level of projects I'm working at, diff and patch are quite useless tools.

          and every version control system has to explicitly support every distinct language

          VCS's currently already work badly together with databases and knowledge systems, let alone distributed knowledge. But your point is cutting right into the core of the problem: we need a new, logical representation and reasoning system for our languages. So, I was not directly aiming at o

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        Try looking into "literate programming". There is a character representation at the lowest level, but the output is all nicely formatted and typeset.

        I played around with Haskell a bit. It has a built-in feature where you can integrate it with LaTeX and produce some really nice program listings complete with typeset documentation.

        • by mauddib~ (126018)

          I've heard of it. The trick for me depends on device independent, reader-base and editor-based independent formatting and editing, i.e. multiple views on multiple internal representations by means of inferred logic by means of recursive object-class representations. Just nicely typeset code is interesting, but does not make the programming task itself more transparent.

      • I'm looking forward to languages that integrate completely with an IDE, and leave simple character representation (ASCII e.a.) behind.

        There are plenty of existing programming environments where the programmer doesn't interact with code as a linear string of text; including in systems that use executable diagrams (often things like BPMN), and, by far the most common example, spreadsheets.

      • Re:"Need" an IDE (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rsborg (111459) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @12:38PM (#29671349) Homepage

        For me, this development can't go fast enough. I'm looking forward to languages that integrate completely with an IDE, and leave simple character representation (ASCII e.a.) behind.

        That platform arrived in the 70's and it was called Smalltalk. All current mouse-based GUI systems are an offshoot of the original Smalltalk system. Wiki link [wikipedia.org]. In reference to your dream-system, things like this were pretty potent and ahead of their time:

        Smalltalk is a structurally reflective system whose structure is defined by Smalltalk-80 objects. The classes and methods that define the system are themselves objects and fully part of the system that they help define.

        This would obviously allow you to edit your IDE/OS in real-time/at runtime.

        • by mauddib~ (126018)

          True, Smalltalk was way ahead of its time. There are some intrinsic details to the language that make it less usable though. Particularly, it lacks a strong mechanism to determine polymorphism rules at run-time. A more modern meta-object oriented system will create a new development here, such as found in CLOS. Aspect Oriented Programming also takes steps to allow these developments. Current developments in Domain Oriented Programming are moving strongly in this direction.

      • Re:"Need" an IDE (Score:5, Informative)

        by spitzak (4019) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @12:56PM (#29671521) Homepage

        I'm looking forward to languages that ... leave simple character representation (ASCII e.a.) behind.

        I worked on such a thing in 1983 at DEC (look up my MIT thesis to see). Structural editing.

        Conclusion: it was an absolute disaster. Programmers cannot use this. Most of the work was in altering it to be as much like a plain text editor as possible.

        Don't think you have an amazing new idea.

        • Actually, I wouldn't mind the following features:

          • drag a picture (perhaps a state transition diagram) into the source code as a comment
          • select a color or font in source code using the system's picker, instead of typing RGB values or font names.
          • drag an image (perhaps an icon or background image) right into the source code, and not have to fiddle with managing "resources".

          Basically, at least for UI-level programming, there are lots of ways to make the source code more visually descriptive than plain text.

          • by spitzak (4019)

            An IDE can do a lot of useful things like this, but I feel that the underlying data structure has to be a stream of bytes and that it must be allowed to at least temporarily contain invalid text sequences.

            • by mauddib~ (126018)

              One could mark a block/statement/expression as dirty. Any AST nodes depending on this scope would temporarily be dirty as well.

              But maybe it's time for some essentially new concepts in programming. Basically, our linear representation of code is a remnant from high memory cost and the assumption that human-machine communication is linear as well. Modern OOP languages already show strongly we don't necessarily have to think like this (eg. in Aspect Oriented Programming). Successful application of software dri

      • by jgrahn (181062)

        In my very humble opinion, tools such as Emacs and vi are precursors to larger development environments, such as Eclipse or Delphi. In your case, and assuming my argument is true, we would all be going back to flipping switches and pressing buttons, since that's the only true way of understanding the code.

        If you don't accept my argument, then why are syntax highlighting, :make macros and identifier matching part of every vi install nowadays? And don't even get me started about emacs, which design purposes

        • by mauddib~ (126018)

          Euhm, yes, does not vi force certain formatting elements in the comments on top of a file? Does vi not leave extra files around for indexing identifiers? Don't get me started about emacs in the regard.

          Also, coding Lisp or Scheme in Emacs is much easier (for an experienced Lisp user) as the IDE is build around the language.

          The language Java chooses to use many different files for its representation. It also assumes a professional working environment, with extensive testing, linking to requirement and design

      • by Phoe6 (705194)

        I'm looking forward to languages that integrate completely with an IDE, and leave simple character representation (ASCII e.a.) behind.

        Wait no longer, www.alice.org is already there.

        • by mauddib~ (126018)

          Interesting development, but not quite what I meant. I'm interested in Domain Oriented Languages (google) and developments inbetween Aspect Oriented Programming and Meta-object Oriented Programming (google, google).

      • In my very humble opinion, tools such as Emacs and vi are precursors to larger development environments, such as Eclipse or Delphi.

        I see where you're coming from. I think they might be precursors to something else that's coming later - something that integrate the benefits of each. As it is, I run Eclipse and vim side by side. I find that there's some things that are faster to do in Eclipse and some things that are faster to do in vim + shell w/pipes and support tools, so I take the benefits of each. When I browsing the codebase or use refactoring tools or write to an unfamiliar API where I need to look up a lot, I usually find tha

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by skrolle2 (844387)

      Bullshit, you only make this argument based on your comfort zones and your levels of trust.

      When you write code in a language that is not machine code you require some sort of text editor, you require some sort of file system for organizing your text files, and you require a compiler and a linker for making executables out of your human-readable code.You need to trust that all your tools actually do what they're supposed to do, and you need to be comfortable in that environment.

      An IDE is simply one more tool

      • by Rogerborg (306625)

        If you "need" to use an IDE, then you're limited to working in environments where one is available. That's just dandy until your Intarwebs2.0 company goes down the intartubes and the only job going is debugging C server code on a Solaris box without a GUI let alone an IDE.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by skrolle2 (844387)

          If you "need" to use a compiler, then you're limited to working in environments where one is available!

          An IDE is a tool just like a compiler is a tool. There really is no difference, other than the fact that some people don't like IDE's.

          I don't need a compiler to write my code, but it would be extremely time-consuming to do my work without one, so in practice I need one to be able to reach a meaningful level of productivity. In the same way I don't need an IDE write my code, but it would be extremely time-c

          • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

            by Rogerborg (306625)
            If you don't "need" an IDE, then you're not the subject of this thread and are just picking a fight. Small fellow, are you?
            • by marnues (906739)
              I'm fairly certain that the GP was stating that the ability to write code with a simple text editor is pure novelty, much like writing machine code without a compiler.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by DuckDodgers (541817)
          Most employers these days seem to favor specific experience over general skills. The chances that someone working on funky Javascript websites for a few years will find their next job writing server side C code is damned small.

          I made the move from C++ to Java four years ago. I'd like to move back, or at least out of Java, simply for some variety. But I have a family to support, and the potential employers I've talked to that don't use Java would only be willing to bring me in at about half my current
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Bullshit, you only make this argument based on your comfort zones and your levels of trust.

        Profanity, straw-man, pseudo-psychology.

        When you write code in a language that is not machine code you require some sort of text editor, you require some sort of file system for organizing your text files, and you require a compiler and a linker for making executables out of your human-readable code.You need to trust that all your tools actually do what they're supposed to do, and you need to be comfortable in that en

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Gosh, you know a latin phrase. How about learning what it means now? Also picking up the basic concepts of sentence composition and verbal argument might be a help.

        • by hrimhari (1241292)

          Bullshit, you only make this argument based on your comfort zones and your levels of trust.

          Profanity, straw-man, pseudo-psychology.

          (...)

          Cowardice : )

        • by Sir_Lewk (967686)

          Case Fucking Closed.

          Well done good sir, well done.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by corbettw (214229)

      How can we have a flame war about the definition of a Real Programmer© without a link to the story of Mel [utah.edu], the original Real Programmer©?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MaraDNS (1629201)
        The original Usenet posting from 1983 actually wasn't pseudo-poetry; it was prose. The original groups.google.com article has disappeared, but a web version of the article in its original prose is here [pbm.com].
        • Re:"Need" an IDE (Score:4, Interesting)

          by corbettw (214229) <corbettw.yahoo@com> on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:33AM (#29670457) Journal

          From the postscript at the end of this version: "The original submission to the net was not in free verse, nor any approximation to it --- it was straight prose style, in non-justified paragraphs. In bouncing around the net it apparently got modified into the `free verse' form now popular. In other words, it got hacked on the net. That seems appropriate, somehow."

    • Well in *my* day, we didn't use any of those fancy dancy text editors! No sir, by golly, we used honest-to-god mechanical switches on a panel to program in our boolean logic and THAT'S THE WAY WE LIKED IT!

      Now get off my lawn!

      • by petrus4 (213815)

        Yeah. I've only discovered the joy of ed in the last month.

        I feel like such a newb. ;)

    • Why use a text editor when you could just lay your program out in punch cards? God, people today are so lazy.

      • by hrimhari (1241292)

        It has already been stated everywhere in this discussion that the real way to program is by using cables and switches. Stop trying to push your silly punch card IDE as a necessity!

        • It has already been stated everywhere in this discussion that the real way to program is by using cables and switches.

          Be that as it may, you still receive the same amount of masochism points for not numbering the punch cards, and then dropping them in the hallway later on.

    • Real programmers use a magnetised needle and a steady hand.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @08:20AM (#29668467)
    Not the Brian Kernighan of "The C Programming Language" fame, then?
    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by ciderVisor (1318765)

      My thoughts exactly. Mod AC up !

    • by jDeepbeep (913892) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @08:55AM (#29668689)
      I am most impressed with his fine work writing the first known 'Hello, world!' program.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by elnyka (803306)

      Not the Brian Kernighan of "The C Programming Language" fame, then?

      That's exactly what I was thinking. I'm like WTF with the title of this thread (??????????)

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I like this meme, don't let it die.
      Here's some ammo:
      Bill Gates of DONKEY.BAS fame.
      Linus Torvalds of git fame.
      Steve Jobs of NextStep fame.

  • by MrKaos (858439) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @08:28AM (#29668501) Journal
    Cries of "We're not worthy, We're not worthy" were heard.
  • Seriously (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @08:34AM (#29668539)

    This is frickin slashdot. Who here needs an introduction of Brian Kernighan?

    • I agree! I ranked this down as a 'slow news day', but obviously the weight of opinion was against me. Bring me a new interview with Alan Turing and maybe that would peak my interest! Or if Brian had something interesting to say in the interview maybe.
      • Bring me a new interview with Alan Turing and maybe that would peak my interest

        Now that could be quite the challenge. I hear he's not granting many interviews lately.

        • Bring me a new interview with Alan Turing and maybe that would peak my interest

          Now that could be quite the challenge. I hear he's not granting many interviews lately.

          Certainly would. Establishing an after-life being one and formulating a means of communication with those in the after-life being the next. Expectations of what would 'peak my interest' being pretty modest after all! ;)

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Dionysus (12737)

      This is frickin slashdot. Who here needs an introduction of Brian Kernighan?

      People with userid# over 20 000?

    • by Ant P. (974313)

      kdawson does, apparently...

  • Icon? (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by gmuslera (3436)
    By now is an entire desktop
  • I argue that many standard class libraries (especially Java) are too complex. There is too much inheritance going on at the expense of ease-of-use.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying. -- Woody Allen

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