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Most Admirable Person in IT

OK, to expand on the the least "Admirable" person in IT below, who are the most admirable? 

Forget technical prowess or allegiance to whatever technology, corporation, school of thought, etc - who seems to have had a significant impact while keeping their heart in the right place? I'm afraid we'll get fewer responses than the earlier post, but they may be more useful.

My candidate is Tim Berners-Lee.

Sweetness and Light
Monday, February 24, 2003

Now we're getting somewhere:

A few candidates.

The Woz (as though he were an inanimate object :-) ).

UC's Professor Norm Matloff.

Jerry Weinberg, the "IT consultant's consultant" - he's kind of the alternate universe Jonathan Goodyear (Jerry even has a beard but happens to be the "good" consultant, not the evil one! :-) )

Larry Wall, inventor of Perl.

Hewlett and Packard, the founders of HP (do engineers and not CS people count? ;-) )

I'll add more as they come to mind.

Bored Bystander
Monday, February 24, 2003

Elvis Costello!

0.02cents
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Second vote for Larry Wall.  You read his state of the onion speeches, he's funny, he's a genius, and yet he's still down to earth, hasn't let success go to his head ...

Okay, okay, I admit perl has quite possibly the wonkiest OO support I've ever seen in a language, and okay, maybe I don't agree with his religious beliefs much either, but he's still obviously a very bright guy.

Alyosha`
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

>> Second vote for Larry Wall. 
>> ... okay, maybe I don't agree with his religious beliefs much either

Actually, that's mostly why I named him (flame away, someone. :-) )

Atheism and agnosticism (and perhaps Trekkism ;-) ) are the politically correct state religions of most IT people and codeheads. Darwin fish on programmer's trunk lids are a dreary dime a dozen. So it's refreshing to hear someone who is an intense coder who also has a spiritual life that he acknowledges publicly and places in context to his achievements.

Bored Bystander
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

I've never quite understood what religious beliefs or the lack of them have to do with the ability to work.

Mind, Larry Wall would be reasonably high on a list of reasonably good people in a world of a reasonably large number of reasonably good people.

Other than that my compulsive disorders don't include compiling lists.

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Me too:

Larry Wall

raindog
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Bill Gates. No contest.

Just me (Sir to you)
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Knuth, Trovalds, me?

nice
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

I'll vote for Larry too. What a genius to say "The chief virtures of a programmer are laziness, impatience and hubris"

As for OO support in Perl, I would say that Cpan.org (a mega library of reusable Perl modules) is what OO is really all about.

Matthew Lock
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

I'll second the vote for Jerry Weinberg.  If only we all had that kind of common sense.

Add Anders Heljsberg to the list.

Scott Stonehouse
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

An old "idol" in the computer field with me was Peter Norton, he wrote some cool stuff back in the day. As for most admirable, I dont know.

I'll also give a second vote for Anders Heljsberg.

Patrik
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Larry Wall

me too'er
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

[it's refreshing to hear someone who is an intense coder who also has a spiritual life that he acknowledges publicly]

Yes, Larry Wall, my hero. I wish he would write a book about his ideas and experiences.

The Real PC
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

I'm surprised no-one's mentioned Richard Stallman.

Neil E
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

I did mentioned him, in the "least admirable person in IT" tread ;-).

Just me (Sir to you)
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

David Cutler
Anders Heljsberg
Bill Gates
Linus Torvalds
Steve Jobs

Robert Moir
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

My mother, she advocated moderation in computing. Her ability to see the future is amazing.

Li-fan Chen
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Come on, one cool hack does not make admirable.
Try:

Donald Knuth
Edsgar Dijkstra
Niklaus Wirth
Adm. Grace Hopper
John von Neuman
Alan Turing
Alonzo Church
Dennis Ritchie
Marvin Minsky
John McCarthy

Anonymous Coward
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

+1 for Alan Turing

Just me (Sir to you)
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Larry Wall for me too.

Ros
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Guido, of course ;-)

oh, and that Knuth guy too.

fool for python
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Stallman certainly fits as a very principled person, especially since people love to hate him.

Some obscure ones:
Doug McIlroy - software "engineering"
http://www.cs.ncl.ac.uk/old/people/brian.randell/home.formal/NATO/index.html

Eugenia Loli-Queru - osnews.com, an interesting and influential site for people like me who find OSes boring

Grace Hopper - first compiler, the A-O; she took years to push "programming languages" as a user-friendly interface

Tj
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Seymour Cray.  A genius who pushed forward high-end computing for decades, and by all accounts, the nicest guy you'd ever want to meet.

I do admire Bill Gates.  He's got his priorities straight, and he doesn't power trip.

I also admire Larry Wall.

Brent P. Newhall
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

My vote goes to:
Anders Hejlsberg  - father of Turbo Pascal, Delphi & C#

Cletus
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

One more vote:
Alan Kay -
Father of Smalltalk and Object Oriented Programming

Cletus
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

If we're going back that far, why not Turing/von Neumann?

I'll second Knuth, and EWD and friends.

Also: not quite IT, but he was software dev.: Seumas McNally.

Mike Swieton
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Steve Mc Connell

Philippe Back
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

slight modification to my votes:

turing, wirth, knuth, tovalds, me

nice
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Tony Hoare, for CSP

Kernighan and Ritchie, for "The C Programming Language"

Rob Pike, for describing the likes of C++ as "a vile tar baby of gotchas and mysteries".

Whoever it was that described UML as "industrial strength hand-waving" and "the computer science equivalent of an elephant dump".

Sven
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz, original designers of Basic in 1964. They invented a simple elegant language which was corrupted by later versions. Their book 'back to basic' is a real gem.

Billy Basic
Wednesday, February 26, 2003

I always admired Donald Knuth after I listened to his "God and Computers" lectures. A very down to earth person, even if his head is in the clouds.

Ian Stallings
Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Gosling
Tim Berners Lee
Jamie Zawinski for making programmers seem like rock stars!

web service admin/developer
Wednesday, February 26, 2003

My vote goes to Alan Turing. But since it seems like you have more than one vote on this issue, Tim Berners Lee could get one too.

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are also obvious in this category.

And so many others...

Rasmus
Wednesday, February 26, 2003

I must disagree with the Gates nomination... True, he helped the industry along, but I his genius has always leaned the way of business and marketing rather than technology.

I won't debate Microsoft's tactics, but I'll concede his effectiveness in leading MS. But I really can't say he's done much to push technology.

I won't place him in the same category as Tom Knoll (Adobe), or Ray Tomlinson (email).

Mike Swieton
Wednesday, February 26, 2003

No mention of Fred Brooks, the author of "The Mythical Man Month"?

Off the top of my head I think of Knuth, "K&R", Torvalds and even Booch with his silly little diagrams.

Go Linux Go!
Thursday, February 27, 2003

Hmmm..Does Gates qualify?

While his contributions in a pure technical sense are pretty small, his business and marketing acumen have been the catalyst for change that can hardly be measured. Love or hate Microsoft, there is no doubt that they have literally changed the world. And without Bill Gates leading it, it's doubtful MS would have become what it is today.

Go Linux Go!
Thursday, February 27, 2003

Tim O'Reilly.

It's so nice to be able to pick up a book and know that it's not going to have 2-inch margins, 18-point type, and six blank pages at the end of every chapter just so it takes up three inches of thickness on the shelf.  It's good, in other words, to know that someone out there still has the goal of educating people on subjects, not just making a quick buck.

(Runner up:  Sybex, on the virtue of their Access Developer's Handbooks.)

Kyralessa
Thursday, February 27, 2003

On the subject of Gates: How many other successful CEO's of big software companies do you know that have the technical skills to actually take part in architectural meetings and even code reviews? Even just combing al these skills in one person for me qualifies as admirable in every sense of the word.
What does he do when being CEO becomes just a life of waffeling with legal to shake of the parasites? He goes back to what he likes best: designing future tech for his company. Oh and as a sidekick he also uses his wealth to make the world a better place, and studies science for fun.
Admirable in my book? You betcha!

Just me (Sir to you)
Friday, February 28, 2003

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