Notes on postmodern programming

Friday 25 October 2002This is over 20 years old. Be careful.

James Noble and Robert Biddle have written a marvelously eclectic “paper” on postmodern programming. The gist is roughly, “everything is a big hodge-podge, isn’t it great?”.

The paper is full of pithy, clever observations and and philosophical approaches to ordinary situations. It isn’t that long, and is not as difficult as it seems. To whet your appetite:

  • Quote: “The key reason [Java and C#] are postmodern is that they cannot be considered against technical criteria: comparing them is like comparing Pepsi and Coke: you don’t drink the cola - you drink the advertising.”
  • The description of how to write a program to print 1000 primes is right on the money and hilarious (who knew porn would be involved?).
  • Quote: “Open Source and Mob Software development replace centralised development by a single company with mongolian hordes of programmers giving their time free across the internet.”
  • The bibliography looks like an interesting person’s bookshelf, in alphabetical order, ranging (culturally) from Mr. Bunny to Dijkstra to Wittgenstein.
  • The paper closes with a quote from Umberto Eco concerning Barbara Cartland!


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