The Programmer Dress Code – Part Deux


If you haven’t read the last post first, please go check it out!

What started out as a joke turned into a huge success! So many awesome computer scientists and so little space! I started adding a few to the end of the last post, but when I realized how many more there were that needed to be added on, well, I decided to come back with more. This list is going to include a few less known people, a few that are famous (or infamous), and even a few that don’t have a Y chromosome. The last 4 or 5 in the previous post were newly added, so go check those out if you saw the list before it changed!

In this post I tried to add a huge number of people that were suggested, but remember, they had to have a big beard, long hair, or in some other way look pretty gnarled. I gave a bit of leeway to the females, since they are genetically limited with respect to the whole facial hair thing. This list is also quite a bit longer than last time, so lets hope you can hold in there! Oh, and if anyone is curious, the last post has had just over 100,000 views and has eaten through about 80GB of bandwidth. This post is quite a bit larger and so I have moved all of the images over to Amazon S3. Let’s see how that goes. Okay, enough blabbing, lets get this party started!


“Maddog” Jon Hall – If you thought James Gosling had a bit of a “Santa” look to him, then you’ll think that Jon Hall is Santa’s long lost love-child. This grizzly lookin’ dude is the Executive Director of Linux International, which is a non-profit that supports and promotes Linux. He was also the guy at DEC who got the hardware for Linus Torvalds to accomplish his first DEC Alpha port of linux. He also wrote the book Linux for Dummies.

The fantastic three…

Adi Shamir, Ronald Rivest und Leonard Adleman – Is it just me, or does Adi Shamir look like a young David Cross? Don’t believe me? Just imagine more hair and a more full beard. Man that is creepy!

I don’t know why that creeps me out. Anyways, these three dapper fellows are the inventors of RSA cryptography. Ever wonder where RSA came from? Yep, it is their last names (family name).

The computer trickster…

Manuel Blum – When he wasn’t busy impersonating Tony Montana with his stylish white suits, he was doing groundbreaking work in Cryptography and much more recently was one of the people that coined the term CAPTCHA.

The Hawkeye…




Barbara Liskov – In her later years she lost the stylish eyewear, and therefore I had to use an earlier photo. If you think that her Harry Potter spectacles are amazing, just wait until you hear that she was the first woman to receive a computer science PHD. Oh, and she helped develop the first language with data abstractions. And the first distributed language. And she rocked the house.

Crazy Bob Saget

Robin Milner – Not that Bob Saget isn’t crazy, but this guy looks like he wants to eat your children. But only in this picture…I think. Beyond nibbling on little ones, he also developed the language ML which was the first language with type inference and influenced many functional languages that have come after it, notably Haskell. It also has several dialects in use today including OCaml and the recently released F#.

Speaking of the Yetti, errr, I mean Haskell…

Grizzly Adams (aka Philip Wadler) – Man, we have so many look-a-likes in this list! Good thing this isn’t one of them. Cause I swear this guy is Grizzly Adams. Check it out…

I had to draw on the glass in order to really give the full effect. Otherwise it would be like the Clark Kent/Superman effect and you wouldn’t see the resemblance. Plus I think it just adds a little something extra, don’t you? Well, enough about his manly beard, this bear wrestler developed Haskell and more recently XQuery. So while he may be a wild man, he seems to have tamed his computer.

No woman, no cry…

Jaron Lanier – This guy coined the term Virtual Reality. Hmmm…I wonder what kind of reality he might have been in when he coined it. It doesn’t matter I guess because he founded VPL Research and led the teams that developed some of the first multi-person virtual worlds that used head mounted displays! Oh, and to back up my earlier point, during college he was a “goat milk and cheese provider.” Can you say hippie?

The rising Sun…

Bill Joy – When not tending to his Oompa Loompas he was busy working on BSD. He then co-founded Sun Microsystems in 1982, and as they say, the rest is history.

Richie Rich

Bill Gates

Bill Gates – While his glasses and hair have gotten smaller, his wallet has become much larger. Here we see Bill in all of his Hunter S. Thompson glory after he was arrested for speeding and driving without a license. He founded a little company called Microsoft, which has many people wanting to see a grown up version of this picture.

The programming language pimp daddy…

Niklaus Wirth

Niklaus Wirth – This guy designed Euler, Algol W, Pascal, Modula, Modula-2, and Oberon. His programming seed was spread to almost every language that you now know of. His seminal book Algorithms + Data Structures = Programs inspired many computer scientists and is still used at many universities. So remember that face, there will be a quiz later.

Another one of them UNIX guys…

Brian Kernighan – Those UNIX guys love them some beards, don’t they? This guy was at Bell Labs with Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie (as seen in the last post) and contributed greatly to UNIX. He is also the “K” in AWK. Brian was also responsible for the name Unics, which was eventually shortened to UNIX. He also wrote the book  on C programming, literally.

And from the “OH MY GOD LOOK AT THOSE GLASSES” department…

Dorothy Denning – Geez, the 70’s sure did have some awesome eyewear. Where can I get some octagonal glasses these days? Nowhere, for shame. And that ring is also quite a statement. And did I mention the shirt? Nothing about this woman says “world renowned cryptographic expert” but that is exactly what she is. In fact, she was so respected in her field that she was one of the people that the NSA called in to review the Skipjack blog cipher. She has written several books, her most recent of which was Information Warfare and Security.

The knight of sorting…

C.A.R. Hoare

C.A.R. Hoare – This guy developed the Quicksort, which was originally called the Hoaresort, and while it is still the most awesome sorting algorithm ever developed it would have been even more awesome if I could tell non-technical people that I was “Hoare Sorting” something. They would instantly think that my job was way more interesting than it is. We would probably also have a lot more Computer Science majors if one of the classes involved learning how to “Hoaresort”. He is also the source of the quote “premature optimization is the root of all evil.”

Help me Obi-Wan…

Ada Lovelace – The first stand-in for Princess Leia…

See the similarities? Again, a little eerie. Well, they were both royalty after all. Ada Lovelace is widely considered to be the first programmer, since she wrote up a description of Charles Babbage’s machine, the analytical engine, and then wrote a program for it to calculate Bernoulli numbers. She is also the inspiration for the programming language Ada which was used extensively by the U.S. DOD (Department of Defense) for many years.

Tarzan of the Apes…

Robert Tarjan – For some reason when I see Tarjan, I want to say “Tarzan”. The irony here is that Tarzan was cleaner shaven than Robert Tarjan. The main difference is that while Tarzan was a chump, our friend Robert was a world renowned computer scientist who invented several graph algorithms and co-invented splay trees and Fibonacci heaps.

The chatty Cathy…

Jarkko Oikarinen – Again, sorry about the look-a-likes, but just try to tell me that this guy doesn’t look like Andy Richter.

Separated at birth? I’ll let you decide. Jarkko developed IRC which became the first open internet chat program. So next time someone interrupts your work with a “what you up to?” IM, just look to the sky and yell “Jarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrkoooooooooooooooooo”!

Spreadsheet aficionado…

Dan Bricklin – There is just something about this guy’s outfit…I can’t put my finger on it. Nooooooo…wait….I see it! That yellow shirt peekin’ out. He is totally a super hero. He runs into a phone booth, and bam, he comes running back out in a bright yellow suit with a big old calculator. Why a calculator you ask? Well, this guy wrote VisiCalc, the first commercially available spreadsheet application. Which was then promptly crushed by several other companies, but it could be said that he was responsible for the start of a huge push of PC’s into the workplace.

The compressor…

Phil Katz – This guy is the inventor of the truly terrible computer person photo. I mean seriously, he looks like he is waiting for someone to start a stopwatch so that he can begin eating his stack of floppy disks. And he doesn’t look too happy about it. But he also invented the zip file format and was the author of PKZip. Ever wonder where that PK came from? Well, now you know.

Someone please comment on this guy…

Jon Postel – Although he looked like he should be running moonshine and trying to avoid the po-po, he was actually the editor of the RFC (Request For Comment) document series. Yep, that RFC document series. The one that pretty much makes up all the standards on the internet. Without him there might not be any tubes and Senator Ted Stevens would probably have a little bit of self respect left.

Well, this is the conclusion of my second (and final) entry on this topic. Not that I don’t like beards and programmers, but these posts are way too much work. 🙂

Well, I hope you guys enjoyed the post, please click on digg or reddit below and vote for it if you liked it!

Comments (34)

  1. Jon Postel indeed set the tone for programmer dress code. Even in 1969 and into the 70’s, he already had that long beard (though it was much darker then), and always wore sandals — at a time when many programmers were pretty much required to wear ties. He was also a trend-setter in the area of beard storage of alfalfa sprouts, for an entire afternoon of snacking!

  2. LOL i just can’t help it about this titels and comments:

    Robin Milner – Not that Bob Saget isn’t crazy, but this guy looks like he wants to eat your children

    No woman, no cry…

    Richie Rich

  3. I was just thinking Diffie too! I ran into him once at the Computer History Museum, and remarked "wow, a famous person" or something dumb like that. He corrected me: "infamous." Heh.

  4. All of these guys are awesome, but what about the new programmers looking for just a smidge of respect and yearning to fulfill their own dreams of beardery. I’m a programmer, I know what it is to have a beard and I was mortified when looking down (of course down, because beards elevate one to a higher level) on my clean shaven colleagues. So I made to encourage everyone to grow a beard and share it with the world. I hope some of you that read this amazing example of an article will stop on by, and more importantly, stop shaving.

  5. On Manuel Blum. This dude along with Knuth invented the study of computational complexity. You know is this algorithm polynomially bound or not. I took a class from him when I was an undergrad at Berkeley in the early 70’s. I remember the first day when he walked into class, jeans, denim shirt, motorcycle helmet in his hand. Hair to his shoulders and a beard. I though he was the course TA. I only found out later (late 70’s) what a serious theoritician he was. By the way one of the nicest profs I had at Berkeley.

  6. There was a book on ATL published by Wrox that had photos of six guys on the cover. All six had beards, eyeglasses and probably had long hair.

  7. As far as I know … and well, first page on google says… Knuth was the source of "premature optimization is the root of all evil." which is one of my favourite quotes in computer history.

  8. Ol’ Bill Gates is actually looking pretty stylish in his mugshot… the glasses make it awesome.

    Ah, if we only knew what the future portended! =(

  9. What about the Doom duo who are responsible for 3D gaming today ? John Carmack and John Romero !!

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