Category Archives: Programming

Real Programmers Don’t Eat Quiche

Thinking more about programmers’ lack of understanding about how computers work and their inability to program in C, that I alluded to previously, makes me say to myself “Real Programmers Use C” or “Real Programmers Don’t Use Interpreted Languages”.

I hear of no calls for C, while there are lots of call for the inefficient, interpreted languages—PHP, JavaScript, Ruby, and Python—which drive most of the “web”. These languages insulate programmers from having to know too much about how computer hardware works. Because of this, programmers never develop the innate sensitivity to computer performance. This results in our needing increasingly powerful computers to do, essentially, the same amount of work (the amount of useful work done is not proportional to increasing computing hardware performance).

Real Programmers Don’t Eat Quiche

Way back before the web was programmable, like it is today, there were a list of “facts” defining real programmers:

Variations of this list were passed around via company mail (snail mail, mail-kart, and pre-“email”). Posters of this list hung on the office walls of developers who considered themselves “real programmers.”

This, of course, was triggered by the 1982 book, “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche.” An essay appeared in Datamation magazine, “Real Programmers Don’t Use Pascal,” extrapolating on the geek version of this list (it isn’t clear whether the lists spawned the essay or vice versa).

Offered: C Programmer for Hire

C Programmer for Hire There are some projects that are best done in C. Do you have a project requirement best served by C but cannot find anyone who can write bug-free C code? A majority of programmers have difficulty manipulating data at the bits and bytes level and have little sensitivity for the performance impact of their code. Reduce risk and unpredictability in C code-quality. Hire me! @wrlee.

It’s been a while since I have seen a call for C programmers. I’ve been interviewing a lot of web programmers lately. Few of them can program in C. One word of interview-advice… if you don’t have a reasonable ability to program in C, do not offer to solve programming problems in C; there are simple mistakes that tip me to the fact that you have never written a working C program—and reveal that you do not really understand how a computer works. Use pseudo-code and focus on the problem at hand and you’ll be further ahead.