Real Programmers Don't Use PASCAL

Ed Post (+)
Tektronix, Inc.
P.O. Box 1000 m/s 63-205
Wilsonville, OR 97070
Copyright © 1982

March 24, 1983

Back in the good old days --- the ``Golden Era'' of computers, it was easy to separate the men from the boys (sometimes called ``Real Men'' and ``Quiche Eaters'' in the literature). During this period, the Real Men were the ones that understood computer programming, and the Quiche Eaters were the ones that didn't. A real computer programmer said things like ``DO 10 I=1,10'' and ``ABEND'' (they actually talked in capital letters, you understand), and the rest of the world said things like ``computers are too complicated for me'' and ``I can't relate to computers --- they're so impersonal''. (A previous work (+) points out that Real Men don't ``relate'' to anything, and aren't afraid of being impersonal.)

But, as usual, times change. We are faced today with a world in which little old ladies can get computers in their microwave ovens, 12 year old kids can blow Real Men out of the water playing Asteroids and Pac-Man, and anyone can buy and even understand their very own Personal Computer. The Real Programmer is in danger of becoming extinct, of being replaced by high-school students with TRASH-80s.

There is a clear need to point out the differences between the typical high-school junior Pac-Man player and a Real Programmer. If this difference is made clear, it will give these kids something to aspire to --- a role model, a Father Figure. It will also help explain to the employers of Real Programmers why it would be a mistake to replace the Real Programmers on their staff with 12 year old Pac-Man players (at a considerable salary savings).

Thomas Erlebach
Mon Mar 27 09:37:41 MESZ 1995