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#1 leibniz76  Icon User is offline

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Was Bill Gates the best computer programmer?

Posted 02 May 2014 - 12:15 PM

How good of a programmer was Bill Gates? I'm new to computer programming and wouldn't have the skills to be able to make a judgment about such a question.
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#2 andrewsw  Icon User is online

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Re: Was Bill Gates the best computer programmer?

Posted 02 May 2014 - 12:44 PM

You could do a little research:

Bill Gates, programmer?

You don't need to be a programmer to be able to read the article.

This post has been edited by andrewsw: 02 May 2014 - 12:45 PM

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#3 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Was Bill Gates the best computer programmer?

Posted 02 May 2014 - 12:47 PM

This is teetering on the edge of being troll bait, but I'll wait and see.

Bill Gates is known for more of being a leader than a programmer, but he was well off early on for his programming chops. Though he did make a version of BASIC.

http://www.britannic...6865/Bill-Gates
http://mashable.com/...l-gates-things/
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#4 leibniz76  Icon User is offline

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Re: Was Bill Gates the best computer programmer?

Posted 02 May 2014 - 01:59 PM

View Postmodi123_1, on 02 May 2014 - 12:47 PM, said:

This is teetering on the edge of being troll bait, but I'll wait and see.

Bill Gates is known for more of being a leader than a programmer, but he was well off early on for his programming chops. Though he did make a version of BASIC.

http://www.britannic...6865/Bill-Gates
http://mashable.com/...l-gates-things/


Ok, how about this for a question: when he wrote that program for the Altair I don't understand was the program a series of 1's and 0's and you had to manually flip the switches? Where was the output generated? Well, actually it was Paul Allen. How did Allen feed the program into the Altair? More details on this please.
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#5 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Was Bill Gates the best computer programmer?

Posted 02 May 2014 - 02:04 PM

You can find plenty of information, videos, etc on how to program an Altair. I would suggest "Altair computer programming".

Quote

Well, actually it was Paul Allen.

I do not believe it was an 'either/or', but a joint effort.
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#6 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: Was Bill Gates the best computer programmer?

Posted 04 May 2014 - 06:37 PM

As I understand the story, Gates actually wrote most of the code, for the interpreter. The story is pretty widely told, and pretty consistent, so most histories of post-mainframe computing will have similar versions. So that's one thing to take note of. As another data point, people who have worked with Gates and for him consistently report him to be a top-class mind. The stories that Joel Spolsky reports, for example, suggest a capacity for quickly absorbing and understanding code that in my experience correlates strongly with excellent programming ability, specifically an ability to abstract out the larger flow, to ignore useless details and capture important ones, and generally a good "nose" for the critical parts. And of course the story of writing a basic interpreter essentially overnight on a box he'd never really programmed on before - I think that's largely true, modulo some exaggeration, and it suggests a degree of sustained competence and concentration that only top-flight programmers can muster. The two together suggest an excellent developer, but not an architect or a manager. Left to his own devices, I suspect that Gates would have made glorious messes that ran far better than they ought to have, considering their utter madness and unmaintainability. Fortunately for him, he was able to kick himself upstairs to a position where this sort of mind is once again useful - the ability to think wildly and intuitively, and to be very consistently lucky, is incredibly useful for top management, but less so for the people who have to make sure that a product ships on time and in working order.

So all in all, yes, I believe that Gates is probably a scary-good programmer, probably something of a Mel, but probably not someone you'd ever want in charge of designing a system, though he'd likely think himself an excellent architect.

Can I justify that any further? No, and neither do I wish to. Take it or leave it...

This post has been edited by jon.kiparsky: 04 May 2014 - 06:39 PM

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#7 depricated  Icon User is offline

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Re: Was Bill Gates the best computer programmer?

Posted 07 May 2014 - 04:52 AM

Jobs or Wozniak?
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#8 leibniz76  Icon User is offline

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Re: Was Bill Gates the best computer programmer?

Posted 07 May 2014 - 06:51 AM

View Postdepricated, on 07 May 2014 - 04:52 AM, said:

Jobs or Wozniak?


Ok, let's go ahead and discuss Jobs or Wozniak. I don't know anything about the issue, so I have no interest in being right. The documentary history of the personal computer available on youtube says that Wozniak was the Moazrt of computer programming. To what extent is this true? The documentary never really says much about Jobs' actual programming power. How much of the first Apple was due to Jobs' ability to program? The documentary seems to suggest that Wozniak did most of the details whereas Jobs looked after the broader vision of getting a product into the market. Plus there is a very suggestive image of Wozniak sitting at a desk programming and Jobs looking over his shoulder. Wiki writes "Apple iMac was introduced in 1998 and its innovative design was directly the result of Jobs's return to Apple." I owned one of those computers and I found it marvelous, so I can't help but think that Jobs was a supreme programmer, further I'm pretty sure Wozniak had left Apple by that time.
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#9 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Was Bill Gates the best computer programmer?

Posted 07 May 2014 - 06:55 AM

Typically Jobs was the front end business guy, and Woz was the hands on. Though the legends say he made 'Breakout' for Atari.
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#10 no2pencil  Icon User is offline

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Re: Was Bill Gates the best computer programmer?

Posted 07 May 2014 - 06:59 AM

It's been discussed to hell & back. You know Gates, Jobs, & Woz because they were highly successful. This hardly makes them the best. & you're also going to praise their coding abilities from the 70's based on the fact that they are the most successful companies throughout the 90's & today.

Successful is not the same as best.
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#11 saintmarkode  Icon User is offline

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Re: Was Bill Gates the best computer programmer?

Posted 19 May 2014 - 04:58 AM

I can't say who's the best...everyone got their own skills.

Many people criticize Gates for stealing, in my eyes though he's pretty smart and funny.

Helping people by donating most of his wealth for a good cause.

He's the man !

I can't say who's the best...everyone got their own skills.

Many people criticize Gates for stealing, in my eyes though he's pretty smart and funny.

Helping people by donating most of his wealth for a good cause.

He's the man !
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