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The World's Best Living Programmers 285

Posted by timothy
from the yeah-but-do-you-have-his-rookie-card? dept.
itwbennett (1594911) writes "How do you measure success? If it's by Stack Overflow reputation, Google engineer Jon Skeet is the world's best programmer. If it's winning programming competitions, Gennady Korotkevich or Petr Mitrechev might be your pick. But what about Linus Torvalds? Or Richard Stallman? Or Donald Knuth? ITworld's Phil Johnson has rounded up a list of what just might be the world's top 14 programmers alive today."
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The World's Best Living Programmers

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  • by Joe Gillian (3683399) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @10:34AM (#47407031)

    I'd argue Chris Sawyer, the programmer behind the original Rollercoaster Tycoon. The entire game was written in Assembly, and works on pretty much anything to this day without needing an emulator or any real fixes. Second place goes to Toady, the programmer of Dwarf Fortress, for singlehandedly making a game that goes into more detail than it should ever have reason to and still works most of the time.

    Carmack, as far as I'm aware, was behind the horrible "update" of Doom 3 that released on Steam a few years ago, which wouldn't run on fully half the machines of the people who bought it. He was also behind Rage, which was a notorious crashfest.

  • by Westley (99238) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @10:53AM (#47407197) Homepage

    I thought I'd get that in before too many other people do. I have better justification than most, as I *am* Jon Skeet. I saw the list yesterday, and we've been gently laughing about it at work.

    Somewhere, the difference between fame and accomplishments has been lost. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a bad coder. I'm pretty knowledgeable about C# as a language, although details of writing *applications* in C# is a different matter. I'm pretty good at expressing technical concepts, and that's really useful in various contexts (Stack Overflow, books, screencasts, and of course work). But none of these are a patch on what some of the others on the list have accomplished.

    As a Googler, I know a *bit* about what Jeff Dean and Sanjay Ghemawat have done - and it's obvious I'm not in the same league. The code I'm probably proudest of is Noda Time (my .NET date/time library) which has a few thousand users, if that. I hope I've had an impact everywhere I've worked, but it just isn't on the same scale as many of the other members of the list (let alone the many thousands of other notable programmers).

    It's pretty clear I'm not actually on the list because of my coding skills - it's just due to Stack Overflow reputation. That indicates *something*, but it's definitely not the kind of measure you'd sensibly use to compare two programmers. Just as I'm proud of Noda Time, I'm proud of being able to help a lot of people on Stack Overflow - but I'm not under the delusion that even that's on the same level of impact as an awful lot of other coders.

    For what it's worth, if I could substitute one other name for mine, it would be Eric Lippert. I'm not sure he's really be in the "top 14" or even whether that's meaningful - but I'd say he's at least *more* worthy of being there than I am.

  • by Westley (99238) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @11:53AM (#47407705) Homepage

    What has Eric Lippert done, as far as programming?

    A lot of work on the C# compiler, while he was still working for Microsoft.

  • by Myrmi (730278) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @12:08PM (#47407855)
    He single-handedly ported Wolfenstein 3D to iOS after the development team said it would take them two months and go over budget. He did it in four days. []
  • Bram (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jones_supa (887896) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @02:53PM (#47409151)
    While we are at it, let's throw the Vim author Bram Moolenaar in the mix.

The rule on staying alive as a program manager is to give 'em a number or give 'em a date, but never give 'em both at once.