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Computer languages and facial hair – take two

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!

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30 Responses to “Computer languages and facial hair – take two”

  1. Silverlight-City Says:

    Welche Faktoren machen Computersprachen zu erfolgreichen Computersprachen?

  2. Georgy Says:


    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?

  3. Ankur Patwa Says:

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

  4. Jurjen Says:

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

  5. Allen Says:

    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.  

  6. Richard Senior Says:

    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)

  7. Dave Wilson Says:

    Photo of Iverson (APL):…/dumontier1.jpg

    Seems to support the theory…

  8. Improbable Research » Blog Archive » Hairy programming, on the face of it Says:

    Pingback from  Improbable Research  » Blog Archive   » Hairy programming, on the face of it

  9. ?????????? ?????? ???????????? ????????????????? ????????????????????????? ???? ?????? ?? ???????? ???????????? ???????? ?????????? - ???????? ???????? ?????????????????? ?????????? Says:

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  10. הבלוג של מיכל Says:

    תודה רבה לכל הבלוגרים שהגיעו למפגש היום, ולאלו שלא היו, הנה סיכום קצרצר של טכס פרסי הפוסקר: בפרס הבלוגר

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  13. Elonian Nomad - 3rd Strike » Blog Archive » Nomad Log 2008.04/30 Says:

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  14. Gil Fink's Blog Says:

    Today, the new MSDN Pulse was released. For my surprise I was chosen to be the blogger of the month

  15. Hoàng Đức Hiếu Says:

    I don’t think Knuth has ever grown facial hair, but TeX is popular

  16. Tamir Says:

    TeX is not populat enough for Don to have beard :)

  17. danil Says:

    We have a team of java programmers in our company – they all have beards!

  18. Sposh Says:

    What about COBOL? Still strong in many niches but Grace Hopper didn’t even have a ‘tash…

  19. bangbroserub Says:

    You certainly deserve a round of applause for your post and more specifically, your blog in general. Very high quality material

  20. Kuroki Kaze Says:

    JSON aka JSLint? WTF? This 1) isn’t languages and 2) not the same thing.

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  22. first date tips Says:

    Seeing is believing

  23. Jon Says:

    Chuck Moore, inventor of Forth, has been pretty clean-shaven through his whole life however he’s kind of unshaven in some of his pictures. :)

  24. No Wai Says:

    The success of Haskell hasn’t yet been evaluated — it will be, if/when it’s needed.

    Hence the undecided facial-hair.

  25. A Programming Language's Success | Says:

    […] determining whether or not a [programming] language succeeds is the quality of its creator’s beard—llamalad Posted by Gerardo Zamudio code, funny, internet, quote, slashdot Permalink […]

  26. What makes a programming language successful? « Nerdwatch! Says:

    […] on a humorous “analysis” done by an Israeli scholar named Tamir Khason.  Mr. Khason made the discovery that the most popular language “C” was created by two men with extreme beards!  This […]

  27. Activity Ledger (beta) for April 5th | Says:

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  29. Lone Wolf Says:

    I guess I’d better get into a Technical industry & try to help save the whole damned planet then. ha-ha


    -Lone Wolf

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