Thursday, 14 July 2016

Who wrote Hello world

Who wrote "Hello, world" ?
Rereading Kernighan and Ritchie's classic book on C - - almost the first thing you find is the listing for hello world. The comments make it clear that this is a commonplace - the sort of program that every programmer writes as a first test - the new computer works, the compiler / interpreter produces useful output and so on. It' s the classic, canonical thing to do.

A long time back, I got asked whether programming was an art or a science: it's both, but most of all it's only good insofar as it's shared and built on. I used hello world as an example: you can write hello world. You decide to add different text - a greeting (Hej! / ni hao / Bonjour tout le monde! )for friends. 

You discover at / cron / anacron - now you can schedule reminders "It's midnight - do you know where your code is?" "Go to bed, you have school tomorrow"

You can discover how to code for a graphical environment: how to build a test framework around it to check that it _only_ prints hello world and doesn't corrupt other memory ... the uses are endless if it sparks creativity.

If you feel like it, you can share your version - and learn from others. Write it in different languages - there's the analogous 99 bottles of beer site showing how to count and use different languages at

Not everyone will get it: not everyone will see it but everyone needs the opportunity 

Everyone needs the chance to share and make use of the commons, needs to be able to feel part of this 

Needs to be included: needs to feel that this is part of common heritage.
If you work for an employer: get them to contribute code / money / resources - even if it's as a charitable donation or to offset against taxes

If you work for a government: get them to use Free/Libre/Open Source products

If you work for a hosting company / ISP - get them to donate bandwidth for schools/coding clubs.

Give your time, effort, expertise to help: you gained from others, help others gain

If you work for an IT manufacturer - get them to think of FLOSS as the norm, not the exception