Sometimes we discover unpleasant truths. Whenever we do so, we are in difficulties: suppressing them is scientifically dishonest, so we must tell them, but telling them, however, will fire back on us. If the truths are sufficiently impalatable, our audience is psychically incapable of accepting them and we will be written off as totally unrealistic, hopelessly idealistic, dangerously revolutionary, foolishly gullible or what have you.
-- Edsger Dijkstra - How do we tell truths that might hurt?
via Joe Drumgoole
Some of these truths really do hurt...
- It is practically impossible to teach good programming to students that have had a prior exposure to BASIC: as potential programmers they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration.
- The use of COBOL cripples the mind; its teaching should, therefore, be regarded as a criminal offence.
Yikes! The first programming language I was exposed to was BASIC (ZX-BASIC). I learnt it while still in my teens. The language I excelled at in college (the only language subject I got a 100% mark for) was COBOL. By Dijkstra's reckoning, I shouldn't be allowed near a computer ;-) The essay was first published in 1975 but as Joe Drumgoole says, most of these are still true today.
PL/I --"the fatal disease"-- belongs more to the problem set than to the solution set.
This one made me think of Java and this recent Tweet...
You have a problem and decide to use Java - now you have a ProblemFactory (@sixtus42)
Martin Probst (@martin_probst)