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Are You "mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration"?

According to renowned computer scientist Edsger W. Dijkstra, as an avid Visual Basic developer, I just might be! Are you???

Let me fill you in. Waaaaaay back in 1975 Mr. Dijkstra came up with his list of computer science "unpleasant truths". My two favorites are:

1) "It is practically impossible to teach good programming to students that have had a prior exposure to BASIC: as potential programmers they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration."

Wow, kind of harsh I'd say. While I'm sure he was dissing old school BASIC with it's line numbers and goto statement, upon further reflection, maybe he's on to something here. Some of the VB programmers I know are, well, nevermind... :-)

2) "The use of COBOL cripples the mind; its teaching should, therefore, be regarded as a criminal offence."

Judge: "The defendant has been indicted on COBOL usage in the first degree. How does the defendant plea?"

Defendant: "Not guilty your honor by reason on insanity. Come on Judge, who in their right mind would use COBOL.NET?"  :-)

Have a day. :-|

posted on Tuesday, January 15, 2008 10:11 AM Print
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# re: Are You "mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration"?
Lou
1/15/2008 11:55 AM
My guess is that he was targetting the old school BASIC as well - he was especially outspoken against the GOTO statement

As for me, guilty as charged ;)

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# re: Are You "mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration"?
Tim Murphy
1/15/2008 12:28 PM
While I really dislike coding in VB this takes things to a whole new extreme. Besides, even if I prefer to code in C# now I started out with Applesoft BASIC and have been paid to write COBOL. I would hope I am not damaged (at least not because of a programming language).
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# re: Are You "mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration"?
Hamilton
1/17/2008 7:32 AM
Must be true... Personally I'm of the mind that if you can't do it in original 8k MBasic it just doesn't need to be done!
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# re: Are You "mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration"?
Chuck
1/18/2008 9:11 AM
Guilty and really glad of it. Both languages made plenty of $ for me over an extended period. Here's me not doing COBOL anymore but still doing quite well with BASICs progeny VB and VB.NET.
What's the prof up to these days?
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# re: Are You "mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration"?
John Evans
1/28/2008 2:31 PM
I totally agree with you. I have used QBasic, now VB.NET and I can still read and understand code I wrote years ago. I bet C++/C# programmers cant do that. C is language is incomprehensible to normal humans!
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