Programming pioneer Edsger Dijkstra once said, “Teaching BASIC should be a criminal offense.” (At least it’s attributed to him — he had a lot of snarky things to say about a lot of other computer languages, so at least it’s in character.)
David Brin disagrees — in fact, Brin is appalled that BASIC, which used to be pre-installed on every personal computer available for purchase, is now a rarity. His article recounting his and his school-age son’s search for a simple BASIC tool is in Salon today.
Brin likes to draw — and rile up — a crowd, as he did years ago in arguing the case that “Star Trek” is philosophically superior to “Star Wars.” And he’s succeeded again.
What I’m finding most interesting in the 150+ letters his article has already generated, whether they share Brin’s views or disagree, is the sheer passion on the part of the programmers responding. I guess the topic combines programmers’ near-religious intensity on the topic of languages with the deep-seated connection all creators have to the tools of their youth.
[tags]programming languages, basic, david brin[/tags]
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