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The second part of this post is up, so after you finish reading, check it out!
I really want to know what it is about programming, or computers in general, that makes people want to grow a beard, have long hair, and dress like a slob. I can say these things without guilt because while I do not have long hair, I do have a beard and I do in fact dress like a slob. Not horribly sloppy or anything. I am actually pretty fanatical about hygiene, I just am not big on tucking my shirt in or ironing it or shaving. So who was the guy that started the unkempt programmer code of honor?
Was it this guy?
Edsger Dijkstra (most know for Dijkstra’s shortest path algorithm) Here we see him in a suit and tie, but hey, he was born in 1930. All people wore a suit and tie back then, even women and children.
Or how about this guy?
Alan Kay – Doesn’t he look like a sad Burt Reynolds? Stop laughing! This is one of the fathers of object oriented programming. All hail! He does have the mop and a nice ‘stache going on though.
What about this one?
Bjarne Stroustrup – I would say that this looks like the kind of guy I would expect to see on a "wanted poster" somewhere, but this guy brought us C++! I couldn’t talk trash about a guy who made C++.
And this one?
Charles Bachman – Nothing unkempt about this guy, except that hat! Damn son! He had a hand in early database technology and won the Turing award for his work.
The list keeps going…
Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson – Are we programming here or going to a Hell’s Angels meeting? But seriously though, being that I am a Microsoft programmer I’m not sure that I am supposed to like these guys. Dennis was the original developer of C and one of the core developers on UNIX while Ken was the man responsible for UNIX and the fact that I don’t have to pay 8000 dollars for a copy of Windows since MS has some competition now. But seriously, these guys are gods.
One of my personal favorites…
John McCarthy – Long lost relative of Colonel Sanders and the original designer of the Lisp programming language. This guy had some serious programming cojones. He even predicted in 1961 that one day computer processing would be sold like a utility. That is the kind of prediction that makes Nostradamus look like a sissy. Again, not too terribly unkempt, but that crazy hair and beard mixed with the suit says "serious by day, party animal by night."
The A-list celeb:
Donald Knuth – If I have to explain what this guy did for computer science, then you need to stop reading this and go to the book store. Again, not an unkempt guy, but nothing says "Computer Programming God" like flannel. You really have to wonder where his beard or mustache is though. He is a real computer scientist, isn’t he?
Martin Fowler – I’m not sure he should be in the list with some of these other guys, but he is a personal hero of mine, and man this picture is great. I could not have asked for a better example of this article if I had requested a picture from him. He has written quite a few books, of which Refactoring and Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture are my favorites.
And the freedom fighter…
Richard Stallman – Like him or hate him, he is a seriously influential person in the computer world, and again he looks like he’d fit in better at a wood chopping competition than at MIT, but who am I to judge? The man is the founder of GNU, need I say more?
And the fruit…
Steve Wozniak – What is a list of crazy computer people without Woz? He co-founded Apple (duh) and is the poster-boy for hippie style programming.
This one is a gem…
Yukihiro Matsumoto – I just threw this one in for the search engines. Just kidding! This the man that brought us Ruby and proves that even in the land of the rising sun, programmers still need beards. Or at least a five o’clock shadow.
By popular demand…
Larry Wall – This guy brought us Perl and sports a nice mustache and hair that would make Fabio jealous.
And I can’t believe I left off this one…
Alan Cox – Holy crap. Alan Cox and Richard Stallman must have been long lost brothers. This guy was one of the earliest developers on the linux kernel and apparently has not shaved since he started.
The programming santa…
James Gosling – This guy brought us Java and is wearing a shirt with the java mascot playing an electric guitar. I have nothing else to say. I think I am out of smart-ass comments.
He’s a cold hearted snake…
Guido Van Rossum – This guy brought us Python and he is seen here without his beard, but he has an afro that would make Snoop Dog smile.
I know I said Fabio before, but wow…
Grady Booch – This guy does commercials for Herbal Essences shampoo and in his spare time he invented UML. Oh, and he wrote a little book called Object Oriented Analysis and Design, you may have heard of it. 🙂
And saving the best for last…
Justin Etheredge – How’d that tool get in there? His picture doesn’t deserve to be in the same folder as these guys, much less in a list with them! Bah!
So there you have it, my totally incomplete list of bearded, long haired, casually dressed visionaries. Except that last one. Sorry, but I’m not sure how that last one got in there. Now what other field (except maybe physics) would accept these people, much less make them their idols. Got any other great pictures of any computer scientists/software engineers? Let us know in the comments.
Also, this list is clearly in jest, if you are offended by having your picture on here then please let me know and I will take it down. Just send the request in writing to me with a signed copy of your book/source/picture and a personal letter of recommendation. I will then dance because you have fallen victim to my trap.
And one final note, I can’t believe you guys read this crap. 🙂 All this technology and what do we use it for? To make fun of the visionaries of our time. Man I love these here internets.
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