Programming · Business

Who in the tech business world do you respect the least?

Martina Glorens Lead Copywriter bei MeMyselfAndI

October 10th, 2016

For example, Steve Jobs (you all know who he was) and Dennis Ritchie (created the C programming language and partly created the UNIX OS) died in a few days difference but somehow the death of Dennis Ritchie went unnoticed by the world media and there are some people who claim that without him there wouldn’t even be Steve Jobs as we remember him. What do you think about that? Who in the tech business world do you respect the least?

Tim Boudreau Consulting Product Manager / Software Engineer at Oracle Labs

October 10th, 2016

Rasmus Lerdorf, creator of PHP.  Here's a quote:

I throw together things until it works then I move on. The real programmers will say "yeah it works but you're leaking memory everywhere. Perhaps we should fix that." I'll just restart apache every 10 requests.

That cavalier attitude towards quality represents the worst of the technology industry - and has cost billions.  There is a reason that, any time I start a web server on the public internet, the first requests that show up in the log file, sometimes within seconds, are attempted PHP hacks.

Technology moves forward in layers, each new layer building on the bedrock below it.  We got the internet because telephony reached a level of reliability that nobody ever picked up the phone wondering if there'd be a dial tone.  We got the cloud because Unix-like operating systems were stable and reliable.  We got ecommerce because cryptography is reliable.  We got containers - Docker and SmartOS - because the hard problems of multitenancy were solved.  When you create and popularize technology that is intentionally sloppy - that can never *be* reliable enough to be bedrock other things can stand on - you hold progress back.

There is a perverse thing that happens in technology - broken technologies create armies of consultants, who blog and further popularize broken technology - so frequently, bad technology wins.  Somewhere I have a MySQL t-shirt with a check-mark next to the word "transactions" on the back - as in "OMG! MySQL now has transactions".  The reaction ought to be, my God, someone created a database and didn't understand why those might be important in the first place?!

A far better critique of PHP than I'll ever write is here: https://eev.ee/blog/2012/04/09/php-a-fractal-of-bad-design/

I'd say Microsoft's design of Windows is a close second here, and perhaps ought to be first - consider the cost to the entire world of viruses and malware and scams built off them - those things were not inevitable, and certainly not at the scale of problem that exists - they are the consequence of specific decisions they made.  But it's harder to point to a single individual who caused the harm there.

The point is, to me, wasting the time, money and sweat of millions of people on technologies that look like they work but don't is the best definition of evil I can think of in technology, and doing so knowingly is unconscionable.

Gabor Nagy Founder / Chief architect at Skyline Robotics

October 10th, 2016

Probably Bill Gates, for nearly single-handedly making society associate computers and technology with unreliable crap (and ugly "designs" that show a complete lack of taste).
It should not be "normal" that your computer crashes 10 times a day, that have to constantly deal with viruses, that your computer gets "tired" (slow) after a while and you need to reboot etc.
It's a tragedy that most people think "that's just how computers are".
I've been happily Microsoft-free for years and I'm hoping to keep it that way.
I see, @Tim and I posted at the same time. Funny, I see you put Microsoft second.
Close-enough... And you are right. I can't stand people who write code (or do anything) like Lerdorf. I can't imagine being that sloppy, even for in-house tools, let alone with publicly released software...
:)
As the founder of a small startup, sometimes I miss having the paycheck I got at my previous job, but then I realize:
Hey, at least I don't have to work on Windows! (and, of course, I absolutely love my current projects).

Imagine where human kind would be, if the library of Alexandria was spared!
Imagine where human kind would be, if Windows, with it's horrendous "design" never became the dominant OS!
There is hope though. Thanks to mobile, the market share of Windows has been declining. It went from 94%+ a few years ago, to around 60% today, and dropping at an accelerating rate.

Yes, Dennis Ritchie's passing was a great loss. I use C and UNIX (Linux) many hours a day. All my project are built on his work...