[FoRK] Speaking of Qt

Damien Morton dmorton at bitfurnace.com
Fri Apr 12 00:40:18 PDT 2013


an across this <http://oddbill.com/2007/07/04/programmer-archaeologist/> while
doing some research recently:

In Verner Vinge’s space opera A Deepness in the Sky, he proposes that one
of this future’s most valuable professions is that of
Programmer-Archaeologist. Essentially, the layers of accreted software in
all large systems are so deep, inter-penetrating, idiosyncratic and
inter-dependent that it has become impossible to just re-write them for
simplicity’s sake – they genuinely can’t be replaced without wrecking the
foundations of civilization. The Programmer-Archaeologist churns through
this maddening nest of ancient languages and hidden/forgotten tools to
repair existing programs or to find odd things that can be turned to
unanticipated uses.

>From *A Deepness in the Sky* by Verner Vinge:

“The word for all this is ‘mature programming environment.’ Basically, when
hardware performance has been pushed to its final limit, and programmers
have had several centuries to code, you reach a point where there is far
more significant code than can be rationalized. The best you can do is
understand the overall layering, and know how to search for the oddball
tool that may come in handy -”

Such an interesting possible future. Hopefully we can avoid it with better
code data mining techniques and eventually AI. But if not, is it possible
that future programmers will be more like scavengers looking for
interesting tidbits of code to reuse rather than producing new code from

On Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 3:32 AM, Damien Morton <dmorton at bitfurnace.com>wrote:

> Vernor Vinge - the programmer archaelogist -
> http://www.hpcf.upr.edu/~humberto/programmer-archaeologist.html
> On Thu, Apr 11, 2013 at 8:56 PM, Joseph S. Barrera III <joe at barrera.org>wrote:
>> Back in the OLD days, there were only one or two commonly used languages.
>> E.g. C and Pascal and maybe Modula. (Not counting languages for maintaining
>> old systems.)
>> There were no frameworks or libraries except the "standard libraries"
>> that came with the language.
>> Programming skill was about, well, programming. What you wanted to do was
>> something you needed to write code for. So you wrote the code.
>> Nowadays, there are like 20 commonly used languages out there and each of
>> them has an enormous collection of libraries. At SLAC we use probably 20
>> packages in our standard build of python.
>> So being a software engineer these days is much less about programming
>> and much more about being a good librarian, knowing where to find the
>> answer that already exists.
>> In particular: if you are writing your own sort routine, you are surely
>> doing it wrong. (And yet we require programmers to know, in school and in
>> interviews, several different types of sorting, from bubble to heap to
>> quick to whatever.)
>> Not sure where I'm going with this, except that I'm helping my step-son
>> prepare for his AP Computer Science test, and what he's being told to study
>> is (1) Java and (2) some clap-trap version of somebody's version of what
>> Software Engineering is all about. Really, it shouldn't be called AP
>> Computer Science -- it should be called AP Java. I'll have to double-check
>> but I'm pretty sure there's not even any mention of big-O notation.
>> - Joe
>> ______________________________**_________________
>> FoRK mailing list
>> http://xent.com/mailman/**listinfo/fork<http://xent.com/mailman/listinfo/fork>

More information about the FoRK mailing list