I'm on a boat^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H in a book

Last year Peter Seibel spent a couple of days interviewing me about the time when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and this turned into a chapter in his new book, Coders at Work: Reflections on the Craft of Programming. It was a fun interview, since we talked about a bunch of non-Netscape-related hacking, and nobody ever asks about that any more.

I haven't read the rest of the book yet, but it's a safe bet that the other folks were more coherent than I was. The other interviewees are Brad Fitzpatrick, Douglas Crockford, Brendan Eich, Joshua Bloch, Joe Armstrong, Simon Peyton Jones, Peter Norvig, Guy Steele, Dan Ingalls, L Peter Deutsch, Ken Thompson, Fran Allen, Bernie Cosell, and Donald Knuth.

(If you're wondering what I'm doing in the same book as Knuth, try thinking of me as the comic relief.)

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18 Responses:

  1. It doesn't have RMS in it. That alone is enough to make me immediately order a copy.

  2. darth_spacey says:

    That's some awesome company to be among. I may just have to pick up a copy -- looks like it should make for fascinating reading.

  3. xach says:

    I was lucky enough to help Peter a little bit on this book by reviewing the raw and edited interview transcripts, and your interview was great, I really enjoyed it.

  4. mopti says:

    The gender balance onthat list is something to behold. How is that industry these days?

    • don_negro says:

      For that sample size, it's representative of every coding job I've had, except for places that recruited non-programmers and trained them.

    • jwz says:

      I sell beer.

    • arakyd says:

      Seibel: You told a story in an interview once about the time you arrived at a conference. And they looked at you and said, "Fran Allen?"

      Allen: "You're a woman."

      Seibel: "We have you rooming with Gene Amdahl."

      Allen: Oh, yes, that one. [...] There was a person from the West Coast who was charged with organizing it and he didn't know any of us. He'd done it alphabetically.

      Seibel: So they sorted you out and found you a room by yourself?

      Allen: Yeah, a maid's room up in the garret.


      Seibel: So how are you feeling about the 50/50 by 2020 project?

      Allen: Pretty discouraged about it.

      It's an interesting interview (they all are).

  5. Did Peter ask you about Lisp Machines at all? I was digging through some old Lisp "AI-repository" code once and found a bunch of TI Explorer code apparently written by you, which was unexpected, so I told him he should ask you about that as well as the obvious Netscape stuff.

  6. ydna says:

    My copy arrives today.

  7. jarodrussell says:

    Sweet! I'll have to add this "to get" list.

  8. jng27 says:

    Ah thanks for the reminder.

  9. vstraylight says:

    For the record, I've always followed your stuff for the comic relief. Sharp, witty, comic relief.


  10. elfoozlero says:

    The dude you mention who would come look over one's shoulder and just sort of grunt (or snicker in my memory) at CMU was Rob MacLachlan, not Skef Wholey. (His drink was hot-chocolate in a beerstein btw.) I don't quite know if you owe Rob, Skef, or both apologies.

    Good stuff in the interview. I was bummed you didn't mention the importance of office decor.


    • jwz says:

      Oh fuck! Did I say it was Skef? I totally meant Rob! Dammit! I am old.

      Also, hi!

      • elfoozlero says:

        Aye, you said that Skef was a "giant blond-haired, barbarian-looking guy". Which is pretty comic given that he's quite the opposite of most of those things.

        Anyway, it's cool you remembered as much as you did. I have some pictures from the old ETI offices, including one of the tally-sheet we recorded our consumption of 16 Oz bottles of Coke. I'll let you know when I scan 'em.

        And most definitely Hi!


  11. coldacid says:

    You probably don't care, but Spolsky raved on about you and the book today. In a good way, mind you.