Recently I started to read Coders at Work: Reflections on the Craft of Programming from Peter Seibel. Basically it is a huge book of long interviews with well-known, established developers. First I wanted to write a blog post about the whole book but in the second chapter I decided it'd be better to write a short memo after each chapter.
The first guy interviewed by Seibel is Jamie Zawinski. In case you don’t know him, he’s one of the important early developers of Netscape. Anyway you can look up more information about him wherever. After all we are living in the era of Internet with constant information oversdose.
Zawinski described himself as a caveman. And indeed I had the same feeling all the time about him. He is such a caveman that he got fed up with programming and went back to his hollow to reflect on how everything changed. Well, his cave is a night bar he owns. Probably many of us would be happy with such a cave.
It’s a cliché about programmers, but he doesn’t really like to interact with people. But at least he knows that in order to write a considerable piece of software these days, you have to communicate with others.
He had no formal CS education, but as he keeps repeating: times changed. Maybe today it’s more important to go to university. Maybe not. Times changed. Times changed…
Times are changing all the time, but I still think that reading the interview with him is well worth it. It is a bit melancholic sometimes, I don’t always agree with him, but he is ideas and his journey are really interesting for someone with much less experience. But I think it can be interesting for the old foxes of our industry who can relate to his story.