Computer languages and facial hair – take two

28 באפריל 2008

69 תגובות

[This blog was migrated. You will not be able to comment here.
The new URL of this post is]

About four years ago, I wrote an article about relationship between facial hair and computer languages success (this is cached page, the original article has been lost). Today, I want to recall this article and see what happened with my theory.

Let’s start from Fortran, Ada and Simula. Fortran inventor, John Backus, died in Oregon last year. Ada inventor, Jean Ichbiah died three months earlier from brain cancer in Paris. Kristen Nygaard, the father of Simula, died of a heart attack. Let’s pause to remember those giants.

image  image image

What’s about F#? His inventor, Dr. Don Syme has neither beard, nor moustaches. Thus it looks like there is no real future expected to this language


What happens with Prolog inventor, Alain Colmerauer? He still has no beard. This means, that the great future is not expected to Prolog as well.


Let’s see what’s going on with C? Brian W. Kernighan, Dennis M. Ritchie and Kenneth L. Thompson. They are fine. Still have very good bears, so C has long long life. Currently this computer language is used in 16% of open source projects (according SourceForge)

image image image

Next in row – Smalltalk aka Alan Curtis Kay. He has moustaches today, but no one really using Smalltalk. What’s the problem? He’s Flex concept got small bust those days. But all problems around Flex concept are stopping it from being very popular in real life.


Objective – C – Brad Cox. It does not look like he has at least moustaches those days. Even his Java+ concept faded in past


C++ still about 18% of industry, however it seemed like C++ just disappears from from computer horizons. Let’s try to understand why. Just compare Bjarne Stroustrup’s facial hair at the beginning of C++ gold era


A couple of years ago


And those days


Don’t you see the real degradation of his beard and moustaches? Bjarne, throw your shaver out of window and fast to save C++!

Now let’s see what’s going on with Thomas E. Kurtz, the inventor of Basic. When he has those moustaches BASIC was the language of simple yet not very effective programming


However, today this light weigh language losing it’s popularity (less then 2% of the industry). This why:


What’s about Perl, that still holding more, than 6% of industry? Larry Wall, keep those grand moustaches!


Now my favorite – Ruby and Python. Last year two those languages become super popular in web environment. Has anything changed in their inventors facial hair? Both Van Rossum (Python) and Yukihiro Matsumoto (Python) got beards. BTW, Matz did it because of my article (see comments). Keep doing!

image image

But what’s going on with C# and Java? Anders Hejlsberg still has neither beard, nor moustache, thus it’s after four years, the industry share of C# is around 4%, while James Gosling’s beard got better within 18% of open source projects

image image

What’s next? There are some new languages in horizon. There are no really new, but there are new concepts, like RubyCLR with Sam Ramji, that looks like has small chances to be really popular


As well as Scott Guthrie with WPF and Silverlight (well it’s not really him, but other architects in Microsoft are not much hairy)


JSON (aka JSLint) with Douglas Crockford has very good chances. Keep doing, Douglas.


When IronPython (and other DLR-based languages) are hard to see see good chances for Jim Hugunin


Let’s take a look into functional and modular modern languages such as Haskell. Its arch-fathers Simon Peyton-Jones, Paul Hudak  and Philip Wadler neutralize one each other, so, it’s very hard to predict it’s fortune. However if we’ll normalize their hair we can get very good chances for Haskell.

image  image image

Last time, I completely forgot about PHP by Rasmus Lerdorf. This language is rather popular and it is not because of it’s nature. See Rasmus face to understand why.


To summarize, it’s looks like my old assumption is still valid, even for new languages so what are you waiting for? Want to be famous and make significant history? Grow a beard!

הוסף תגובה
facebook linkedin twitter email

כתיבת תגובה

האימייל לא יוצג באתר. שדות החובה מסומנים *

69 תגובות

  1. עומר ון קלוטן28 באפריל 2008 ב 21:51

    Good article with sound conclusions 🙂

    Off to create my own language then.

  2. James Longstreet29 באפריל 2008 ב 0:40

    What about Grace Hopper and COBOL?

  3. anonymous29 באפריל 2008 ב 1:44

    LISP hackers had beard (McCarthy, Stallman, Gabriel, from the top of my head), and, well, they did change the world. Not so high on the market share, but the importance of LISP is impossible to overestimate.

  4. WalkingDead29 באפריל 2008 ב 5:34

    Excellent post!

  5. Sven29 באפריל 2008 ב 6:24

    Hmm, I might agree if it weren't for the fact that Fortran code lives on and on and on in numerical computing libraries such as LAPACK and BLAS (

  6. Feisto29 באפריל 2008 ב 7:19

    > LISP hackers had beard (McCarthy, Stallman, Gabriel, from the top
    > of my head)

    Something tells me there's a pun in there somewhere…

  7. G-Brain29 באפריל 2008 ב 15:25

    > Both Van Rossum (Python) and Yukihiro Matsumoto (Python) got beards.

    Yup, they both invented Python at the exact same time on nearly opposite sides of the earth.

  8. Tamir Khason29 באפריל 2008 ב 18:03

    James, I reviewed her in previous article, she died in 1992
    Phil, LISP – rulez forever 🙂
    Sven, Hermann Grassmann has very good beard

  9. Andrew Colver29 באפריל 2008 ב 19:22

    You just can't allow yourself to be bothered by petty things like shaving when you're trying to create a masterpiece. Nearly all of the great Renaissance painters knew that; that's what made them great.

    Plus, when writing a new language it probably helps if you take a vow like: "A razor shall not touch these whiskers until this thing is up and running and circles the globe a billion times over!"

  10. snmp guy29 באפריל 2008 ב 21:51

    growing up in the US, we had a joke (if you even call it that) in high school. they used to say 'if you are in science and have a beard, when applying for a job they don't have to check your references' 😉

    its not really serious, but it does sort of suggest that 'the look' really does go along with hard science or engineering.

  11. Devin29 באפריל 2008 ב 21:54

    Finally I understand why Applesoft BASIC was so much more influential than the other versions!

  12. Cute Dungun29 באפריל 2008 ב 21:54

    Yes, I see a clean corelation of facial hair and computer languages. It is very obvious that people who seek to design a good language for coding need too much time for it. So basicaly the facial hair is a result of the lack in time for shaving.

  13. Dino Fancellu29 באפריל 2008 ב 22:05

    And that's why women can't invent successful languages!

  14. A29 באפריל 2008 ב 22:08

    I really can stand all the

    "it's" -> "its"
    "he's" -> "his"

    But then again, maybe it's just me that I am not a native speaker.

  15. Someone29 באפריל 2008 ב 22:08

    Hate to burst your bubble, you conveniently forgot about SQL. Doesn't look like SQL is going to go away… ever.

  16. nix29 באפריל 2008 ב 22:10

    What about "Grace Hopper"?

    Well, the truth of the matter is that when y2k was all the rage; it wasn't really time/date that caused the migration from cobol. It was the fact that she doesn't have a beard. You can't tell management that; so the y2k cover up was created.

    Sorry; no beard… language is gone.

  17. Chris29 באפריל 2008 ב 22:16

    The JRuby guys (Charlie and Tom) both now have beards. Look out!

  18. Bil Simser29 באפריל 2008 ב 22:16

    I don't have a full beard (never could grow one) so I have sort of fluff or long whiskers or something like that. I guess by that measure I could create half a language and that's better than none at all. I wonder if I got together with another guy with the same we could create a fully baked language? Seems like it. Time to hit the compiler bandwagon then…

  19. Max29 באפריל 2008 ב 22:17

    Great article. Just a side note, might wanna go back and touch up some of the grammar such as "He’s Flex concept got small bust…"

  20. Thomas29 באפריל 2008 ב 22:46

    Would someone please shave Paul Hudak and Philip Wadler and finally let Haskell die?

    Just kidding.

  21. Denix29 באפריל 2008 ב 23:09

    there is a difference between specify a grammar or create a language? I'm asking this because of Donald Knuth…

  22. BoBo29 באפריל 2008 ב 23:14

    I would add, a beard is a necessary but not a sufficient condition.

  23. Bylo29 באפריל 2008 ב 23:21

    Chuck Moore, father of Forth

  24. Lloyd Hatch29 באפריל 2008 ב 23:22

    @James Longstreet

    I guess we have to throw this theorey out the window for languages created by women. well maybe — the codeveloper of cobol Bob Bemer sports a stache maybe you can attribute its success to him.

  25. Michael30 באפריל 2008 ב 0:04

    Perhaps for the ladies the length and density of their leg hair should be taken into account instead. ;P

  26. Fredrik30 באפריל 2008 ב 0:09

    While A-0 isn't used anymore, compilers sure are. And Grace Hopper had no facial hair.

  27. Dean30 באפריל 2008 ב 0:16

    It's not that facial hair leads to good languages, it's that creating a language obviates the time to tend to one's personal hygiene.

  28. HelloStpds.30 באפריל 2008 ב 0:18

    it is neither beard, nor moustaches. it's about mathematics/physic (grace hopper included)…

  29. jdporter30 באפריל 2008 ב 0:24

    Great. Now you got me thinking about Grace Murray's armpit hair. Thanks a lot.

  30. alanbcohen30 באפריל 2008 ב 0:30

    Anybody have a picture of Dick Pick or Don Nelson? (PickOS, Microdata Reality, ADDS Mentor, UniVerse, etc)

  31. stuffduff30 באפריל 2008 ב 2:03

    Isn't Yukihiro Matsumoto Ruby?

  32. Ernest Adams30 באפריל 2008 ב 3:13

    Niklaus Wirth (Algol-W, Modula, Pascal, Modula-2, Oberon). Good beard. Pascal used to be used a lot in teaching.

    Charles Babbage (Analytical Engine assembly language). No beard, went nowhere.

    Kenneth Iverson (APL). Can't find a picture. Language little used. It required an obscure character set all its own.

    A bunch of funky military languages, probably best forgotten.

  33. karthikrm30 באפריל 2008 ב 3:52

    damn! i just shaved this morning. Now I will first grow a beard and then think of a language to make 🙂

  34. Patrick30 באפריל 2008 ב 4:24

    Don't forget LOLCode (.com)

  35. Ara Pehlivanian30 באפריל 2008 ב 5:31

    Great post! Just a little FYI though, JSON and JSLint are completely unrelated. JSON is JavaScript Object Notation which is a lightweight data interchange format and JSLint is a JavaScript validator of sorts, making sure that the JavaScript is well written and formatted.

  36. Arne30 באפריל 2008 ב 5:34

    What, mentioning only Kristen Nygaard as the father of Simula and neglecting the brilliant Ole-Johan Dahl (

  37. l4ncel0730 באפריל 2008 ב 5:53

    yay man
    prove by MI

  38. dave30 באפריל 2008 ב 6:50

    aha – now it all makes sense, expanding a bit:

    IDE/Tony Wasserman – no facial hair
    UML/Grady Booch – beard, long hair

    ….hmmm, and about ruby, not even sure those guys can *grow* facial hair…

  39. Vinay.V30 באפריל 2008 ב 7:44

    Only if Gandalf had created a programming language before setting sail to the undying lands… 🙁

  40. Seiji Takaya30 באפריל 2008 ב 10:57

    > Only if Gandalf had created a programming language before setting > sail to the undying lands… 🙁

    He did. We only rediscovered it and called it LISP.

  41. suapapa30 באפריל 2008 ב 13:47

    Thanks for good and funny post.

    I translated this article in Korean for Korean bready ready guys. 🙂
    (above trackback with broken encoding)

    ps. Yukihiro Matsumoto is father of Ruby (not Python).

  42. Mehdi30 באפריל 2008 ב 15:47

    Can you really say that Dr. Don Syme really invents F# ???
    And What about Xavier LeRoy and OCaml ?

  43. dave30 באפריל 2008 ב 16:43

    You should fix it in the text

  44. Tamir Khason30 באפריל 2008 ב 17:54

    Well, Objective Caml is not too influent language 🙂

  45. peter30 באפריל 2008 ב 18:36

    Matz is listed as (Python) while it ofcourse should be (Ruby)

  46. Erik30 באפריל 2008 ב 18:36

    I love the correlations, but have issue with the popularity of language based on the percentage of open source projects. Let's look at the language(s) used in the most powerful and most important software out there. I think we'll find that C and C++ stand out. OSes, Photoshop, Excel, Avid, Shake, RenderMan, Illustrator, super computing, etc.

  47. Mike30 באפריל 2008 ב 18:47

    "What about Grace Hopper and COBOL?"

    Maybe she had a grandma beard??



  48. Saj30 באפריל 2008 ב 19:09

    Hahaha.. Thought provoking! 🙂

  49. Andre Hinds30 באפריל 2008 ב 19:43

    "What about Grace Hopper and COBOL?"

    I'm sure Grace had a great beard.

    Just a few feet lower than us guys.

  50. John30 באפריל 2008 ב 19:56

    Should we be wondering why 4% without a beard is a failure and 6% with a beard is a smashing success? Or is that just the naked emperor I see talking…

  51. Binny V A30 באפריל 2008 ב 21:14

    What about framework authors? jQuery, Rails etc.? Include them in the next take. I will be expecting that four years from now.

  52. Mike30 באפריל 2008 ב 21:43

    And don't forget CMS.

    Drupal? Joomla? Mambo? Xoops?

    Which one(s) were developed by bearded creatures??

  53. Tamir Khason30 באפריל 2008 ב 22:09

    Mike, this might be interesting point for my next investigation

  54. CitizenKate30 באפריל 2008 ב 22:38

    So, what are we women to do, if we want to invent a programming language? Should we wear fake beards? Should we date guys with beards? Should we carry around a pet ferret, and frantically holdi t up to our chins, every time someone takes a picture. "Lo, look at my fabulously stinky and silly beard! Pay no attention to the squirming!"

  55. Mike30 באפריל 2008 ב 22:48

    Women already program men.

    It's called nagging.


  56. Ben30 באפריל 2008 ב 23:07

    If Chuck Norris wrote a programming language
    it would roundhouse kick all the other languages to death.

  57. az computer g33k1 במאי 2008 ב 2:01

    they are all white men too, with only two exceptions that
    I see. Maybe that is the real success key. Be a white male!

    Im going to start working on that right away.

  58. greymaiden1 במאי 2008 ב 20:09

    Does that mean female programmers are totally screwed?

    Should I start taking testosterone supplements?

  59. hvm2 במאי 2008 ב 22:57

    wee, my hvmOS might actually have a chance then!

  60. Dave Wilson9 באוקטובר 2008 ב 3:01

    Photo of Iverson (APL):

    Seems to support the theory…

  61. Richard Senior9 באוקטובר 2008 ב 8:10

    What about web application authors?

    Facebook – Mark Zuckerberg – Not hirsute
    Google – Larry Page/Sergey Brin – Not hirsute
    EBay – Pierre Morad Omidyar – Not hirsute
    Wikipedia – ? – ? (I'm willing to bet there's no facial hair)

  62. Allen9 באוקטובר 2008 ב 18:02

    Well, I'm certainly convinced. Having maintained a hirsute visage for nearly 40 years, I'll add a footnote to my CV and resume immediately, in hopes of being put on cash retainer by a creative programming guru with solid financial backing.

  63. Jurjen10 באוקטובר 2008 ב 5:29

    Grace Hopper no beard? At least she didn't shave, I assume.

  64. Ankur Patwa10 באוקטובר 2008 ב 17:13

    great post. its true. preoccupied/busy men tend to save 10 mins by NOT shaving.

  65. Georgy7 בנובמבר 2008 ב 4:50


    Joe Armstrong does have a moustache, see
    and appearantly, Erlang is gaining popularity 🙂
    (however, still has weak reputation).

    Joe, shouldn't you grow a beard?