Interview with Ritchie, Stroustrup, Gosling

While brushing off through my notes and bookmarks, I found this wonderful interview done by Herb Sutter with Dennis Ritchie, Bjarne Stroustrup and James Gosling. Notable quotes:

  • Ritchie, when asked on how fast people learn C, tells his favorite joke on the matter: “Well, I never had to learn C.”
  • Stroustrup, on learning C++: “There is of course a danger in relying on libraries in teaching. They can provide an appearance of competence while hiding utter ignorance. One aim of teaching programming must be to make what is going on comprehensible rather than magical. To many programmers, the behavior of their system and even of their fundamental libraries is pure magic. This is dangerous. In this context, it is a strength C++ (and of C) that the standard libraries usually are implemented in the language itself using only the facilities available to every programmer.”
  • Stroustrup, on universities: “In some well-respected computer science departments, you can graduate without having written any code. That ought not be possible. Nobody should graduate with a degree in computer science or computer engineering without having completed a significant programming project. Code is the base of computing and people without a “feel” for code tend to seriously misjudge what skills, tools, and time are needed to build good systems.”
  • Gosling on reading Java books: “I’m one of the worst people to ask about Java books, because I basically don’t read any Java books. Mostly what I read is the API documentation that’s on the web.”

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