The revolution hasn’t happened

Alan Kay says the computer revolution hasn’t happened. Here’s a talk he gave at OOPLSA in 1997. He has gems such as “I made up the term object-oriented, and I can tell you I did not have C++ in mind.”

In Mastering Perl I emphasize that people should pay attention to the masters in their discipline. If you only work in Perl, that doesn’t mean that you’d limit yourself to just the big names in Perl. The language is merely an expression of ideas. A different language will express them in another way, often giving you more insight.

I also note in my Mastering Perl classes that I hope we are in the dark ages of computer programming. If we’re close the pinnacle, we’re all in trouble. I sure hope the revolution hasn’t happened. It has to get better or we are all doomed.

  1. But what is “it” that has to get “better?” Do you mean that perl programmers need to understand the idiom better? Is programming too hard? Is perl programming too hard? What does the revolution bring?

    • I think that’s the problem: we don’t know what “it” is while we are focused on odd things we think are important. That’s the nature of revolutions; an entirely new way of thinking shows up.

  2. How do you think this talk applies to Perl 6?

    • I don’t think Perl 6 is a significant leap of technology, so Perl 6 didn’t even enter my head as I was thinking about this. That’s not to disparage Perl 6 because I haven’t seen anything I think is a great leap forward. Many of the things we get today are ideas from the 60s that are just back in fashion. :)

  3. We are definitely in the dark ages. Everything is broken. I’ve been programming professionally for 20 years. I hope that 20 years from now nothing will resemble what we’ve put up with in the last 20.

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