Quick Quotes From the Hundred-Year Language

I just finished reading Hundred-Year Language by Paul Graham. I added it to my del.icio.us, but that can’t hold all of the quotes I found interesting so I thought I’d post them here. The article is worth the read if you have a spare 10 or 15 minutes, regardless (I think) of whether you’re a programmer or just someone interested in computers in general.

And now to the quotes:

  • The more of a language you can write in itself, the better.
  • People thirty years ago would be astonished at how casually we make long distance phone calls.
  • SUVs are gross because they’re the solution to a gross problem. (How to make minivans look more masculine.)
  • What programmers in a hundred years will be looking for, most of all, is a language where you can throw together an unbelievably inefficient version 1 of a program with the least possible effort. At least, that’s how we’d describe it in present-day terms. What they’ll say is that they want a language that’s easy to program in.
  • [Bottom up programming] tends to yield smaller, more flexible programs. It’s also the best route to that holy grail, reusability
  • Object-oriented programming offers a sustainable way to write spaghetti code. It lets you accrete programs as a series of patches.
  • if you did a really good job [of writing a language], you could make a language that was ideal for writing a slow version 1, and yet with the right optimization advice to the compiler, would also yield very fast code
  • {on the difficulty of doing real research in academia} The extreme case is probably literature; people studying literature rarely say anything that would be of the slightest use to those producing it.
  • If SETI@home works, for example, we’ll need libraries for communicating with aliens. Unless of course they are sufficiently advanced that they already communicate in XML.