Social study: Academic Programmers

Dr. Ernest N. Prabhakar (
Sat, 21 Mar 98 08:40:20 -0800

This isn't humour, this is demographics. Perhaps someday we'll throw
around our AP code names the way we now use Meyers-Briggs types. FoRK
is probably large enough that by now we have at least one of each, though
I suspect the typical FoRKer is somewhere between OO and NN (Object

-- Ernie "No of course I don't fit any stereotypes" Prabhakar

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 2 Mar 1998 11:50:53 -0800
From: John Lindal <>
Subject: humor: Academic Programmers


Here's the headlines, a suitable teaser to lure you onto the URL above -


During the course of a computer science research project (or even
a DPhil) it is highly likely that a researcher will have to generate
at least a couple of lines of code. Most researchers fall into a
number of well-defined categories when it comes to programming. This
handy guide for supervisors, other researchers or the plain bored
helps you to identify some of the prime suspects...

1 "I Am The Greatest"
2 "Internet Vegetable"
3 "Rabid Prototyper"
4 "Get New Utilities"
5 "Square Peg; Round Hole"
6 "Objectionably Oriented"
7 "My Favourite Toy Language"
8 "Give Us The Tools..."
9 "Macro Magician"
10 "Nightmare Networker"
11 "Configuration Unmanageable"
12 "Artificial Stupidity"
13 "Number Crusher"
14 "Meta Problem Solver"
15 "What's a Core File?"
16 "I Come From Ruritania"
17 "Old Fart At Play"
18 "I Can Do That"
19 "What Colour Should That Be?"
20 "It's Safety Critical..."

Now - go read the descriptions - they're quite enlightening ...

One example just for fun:
1 "I Am The Greatest"

Firmly believes that he is the greatest programmer to have walked the
earth and has the three-line version of Tetris to prove it.

IATG spent most of his undergraduate days in the terminal room and
only got a degree because he could break security and decrypt the exam
answers. Thinks in a mixture of C and assembly language, thinks Real
Programmers are sissies, has memorised even the unwritten volumes of
Knuth (who he believes sold out the moment he started writing TeX) and
has most of the source to obsolete Unix kernels in his room. Has VMS
source on microfiche, mysteriously acquired. Knows what the Lions
Book is and has his own n-th generation copy of it. Has played a Plan
9 distribution CD ROM through an audio player for fun.

Nobody else can understand IATG's code, which suits him fine, and
absolutely nobody can use his customised environment, which also suits
him because it means he doesn't have to answer questions about it.

Absolutely lethal on any project which involves collaboration,
documentation, theory, or distributing code to other sites; IATG is
best steered away from research and into hacking for GCHQ or similar.