I’ve come to love reading essays by Paul Graham and Joel Spolsky about programming and the business of programming. Their writing is excellent, their topics interesting and practical, their substance deep and intelligent, their style natural and accessible, their meaning clear and concise. I especially enjoy reading Graham because he demonstrates the practical advantages of functional programming, and Lisp in particular, through anecdotes of his own experience starting a software company and wiping the floor with his competitors.
There are lots of great quotations from his essays. I’ll update here as I find new ones. From The Other Road Ahead: In the desktop software business, doing a release is a huge trauma, in which the whole company sweats and strains to push out a single, giant piece of code. Obvious comparisons suggest themselves, both to the process and the resulting product. and: When you release only one new version a year, you tend to deal with bugs wholesale.
Choice quotations: What hackers and painters have in common is that they’re both makers. Along with composers, architects, and writers, what hackers and painters are trying to do is make good things. They’re not doing research per se, though if in the course of trying to make good things they discover some new technique, so much the better. Now I realize I was mistaken. Hackers need to understand the theory of computation about as much as painters need to understand paint chemistry.