Hackers and Pastry Chefs

In Maciej Ceglowski's cutting counterpoint to Paul Graham's Hackers and Painters, he cites a key difference between software development and painting: writing software doesn't get you laid.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2005/04/hackers-and-pastry-chefs.html

There was, in fact, nothing new about computer viruses except their existence. Viruses had been foreseen in science fiction; the earliest use of the term has been traced to a series of short stories itten in the 1970s by David Gerrold. In 1972 Gerrold employed virus theme for a sci-fi potboiler called When HARLIE Was. HARLIE was an acronym for Human Analogue Robot Life Input Equivalents computer, which meant simply that the ficional creation could duplicate every function of the human brain–a sort of mechanical equivalent of Dr. Frankenstein’s monster. This robot could also dial up other computers by telephone and reprogram them or modify data. In so doing, HARLIE was emulating a computer program called simply virus, which dialed up telephone numbers at random. When it found another computer at the end of the line, it loaded a copy of itself ontothe new machine, which started dialing other comlters to transfer copies of the program, and so on. Soon hundreds of computers were tied up randomly calling numbers.

The Virus program was fictional, of course, and simply part of Gerrold’s convoluted plot, but the concept of a computer program reproducing itself had been foreseen as early as 1948.


Typo: “…doesn’t you laid”? - should be “…doesn’t get you laid”.
Sorry to nitpick on an old post but the typo was the punchline in bold so I had to.
Great blog otherwise.