Programmers who defined the tech industry: Where are they now?
- 04 November, 2010 10:45
Some early programmer names are familiar to even the most novice of software developers. You may never have seen a line of code written by Bill Gates, or written any application in BASIC (much less for the Altair). But you know Gates’ name, and the names of a few others.
That’s a darned shame, because the early microcomputer era (we didn’t uniformly call them “personal computers” yet) had many brilliant software developers. Some of them went on to greater fame and fortune; others disappeared into the mists of history.
Bob Frankston, Dan Bricklin (Computerworld photo)
In 1986, Susan Lammers did a series of interviews with 19 prominent programmers in a Microsoft Press book, Programmers at Work . These interviews — many of which the author transcribed on her own website a few years ago — give a unique view into the shared perceptions of accomplished programmers... the people who invented the tools you use today.
Lammers’ book is still enjoyable on its own merits, simply because it’s a bunch of very smart developers talking about their craft at a time when there were relative few wide shoulders to stand upon. In re-reading my copy, I was reminded by how raw the technology industry was, how many competing standards we had to weed through (it had been years since I saw a list of the late-1980s databases: R:Base, Paradox, Javelin, ANZA) — and yet how soon we expected to achieve Artificial Intelligence.
I chose five of the book’s programmers for this time machine, leaving the remainder’s fate primarily an exercise for the intrepid reader.
[ See also: Priceless! The 25 Funniest Vintage Tech Ads ]
Here you’ll learn the then-current opinions from Dan Bricklin (VisiCalc), Jonathan Sachs (Lotus 1-2-3), Robert Carr (Ashton-Tate Framework), Bill Gates (BASIC on microcomputers), and Charles Simonyi (Multiplan).
Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.
- 2010’s notable tech industry deaths
- The New Type of Programmer: DevOp
- Programmers at Work
- Priceless! The 25 Funniest Vintage Tech Ads
- Three Minutes: Godfathers of the Spreadsheet
- Dan Bricklin
- Bob Frankston
- Software Garden
- A Developer’s Introduction to Copyright and Open Source
- open source
- Mitch Kapor
- Digital Light & Color
- Framework (office suite)
- Lotus Symphony
- GO Corporation
- Alto personal computer
- Xerox PARC turns 40: Marking four decades of IT innovations
- Hungarian Notation
- Intentional Software Corporation
- Ray Ozzie to leave Microsoft
- Life after dbase
- Pete Petersen
- Programmers at Work - Follow Up
- Soyuz TMA-10 mission 2007
- Mark Shuttleworth
- Agile Development
- OAIC releases privacy impact assessment guide for consultation
- Some Australian businesses 'unlikely' to be ready for Privacy Act changes: survey
- BYOA 'shadow IT' grows in the enterprise: Telsyte
- Cost of a Privacy Act breach could extend to ongoing audits: legal expert
- How Hunter Water is saving $50k a year in software licences
Trust issue looms large for tech companies capitalizing on personal data
5 women who've made it in IT
Five trends affecting legal CIOs
CIO Roundtable: The changing face of security
Bitcoin malware count soars as cryptocurrency value climbs
5 Ways To Be More Productive At Work
Think back to the last time all your employees were in the office, at their desks, on the same day. It’s no surprise that you might struggle, between travel and off-site meetings, remote staff, flexible schedules and sick days. In today's competitive business climate, organisations need to maintain productivity and connectedness with their staff, despite not always being onsite. In this whitepaper, we look at five ways you can improve productivity, no matter where employees are.
15 Minute Guide to Smarter Backup
Backup and recovery has become an essential element of data protection. The availability and integrity of data can directly impact revenues, profits, and company reputations. The people, process and infrastructure involved can also affect key business initiatives. This whitepaper explains the real challenges of traditional architecture, and why protection storage architecture might be the solution.
How to Successfully Select an ERP System
An Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system is a series of software applications that collect and compiles data from different departments to enhance collaboration and co-ordination within the business. If you’re looking to implement your first ERP system, or to upgrade from an existing system, this whitepaper offers eight simple steps for selection that will lead to long-term strategic success.