Software Experts Nonsoftware People Respect

From fork of RespectedSoftwareExperts.


Are most of the nominations in SoftwareExpertsIpersonallyRespect respected in a real sense outside of the software industry, or even in a reasonably uniform way within it (and the two issues are pretty connected)?

Let me give an example of what I mean. The FinancialTimes? in London has a pretty good reputation across the world as a daily newspaper covering all aspects of commerce and industry. It has included a large, pretty high quality monthly IT supplement for a number of years now. Loads of "experts" have no doubt been quoted within its pages over time.

Sometimes one theme is considered important enough to be the dominant one of the whole supplement. In this case the leading, front page article is the most important and the first person to be quoted in that article (depending somewhat on the subject) is likely to be considered an industry-wide "heavy hitter".

In November 1998 the dominant theme was the Y2K problem. AlanGreenspan?, TonyBlair and others all got to have their say on the subject but the first person quoted was EdYourdon. Unfortuately for Ed, he ain't getting quite that level of respect from everyone right now. But that's at least one measure of what I mean by RespectedSoftwareExperts.

--RichardDrake


GeraldWeinberg

Again, how widely respected is he? Was Weinberg one of the experts asked to comment on the (software) viability of Reagan's proposed SDI or "Star Wars" initiative, for example? Who were those guys does anyone remember? Who should they have been?

"Oh yeah, where was he when we were saving the whales?" is hardly a way to critique an expert.

Jerry's an interesting case. If you've never read him then you're probably not ready to really take control of a difficult software development project (you may still preside over a successful one of course). The converse is not true...

We do need a variety of categories obviously. Isn't Wiki wonderful, though. I don't have to propose them.

David Parnas was one of more vocal critics of Star Wars.


Here's two possibles:

MarvinMinsky, NicholasNegroponte

Comments? --KyleBrown

Great nominations. For which oscars though?

Mention of MarvinMinsky reminds me of the reasonably popular recent books by RogerPenrose that, among other things, seek to challenge some of the basic assumptions of "strong AI". Over here in the UK a few people have a greal deal of respect for Penrose, who has some interesting things to say about software in passing, nobody has heard of Minsky (well apart from Daffyd) and almost everyone has heard of and seems to respect StephenHawking, who's used a lot of Penrose's maths but unfortunately hasn't said so much about refactoring and collective code ownership as say RonJeffries. But there again Ron isn't a HouseholdName? quite yet in Chipping Sodbury.

I may seem to be wandering here. My point is that this page is unashamedly about not just whether you're a real expert (which it is) but whether you're respected outside the world of software. And it's hard to respect someone you've never heard of. So, just to be provocative, StephenHawking is as valid a nomination as MarvinMinsky. NicholasNegroponte I would put at the same level as RogerPenrose. But remember I don't have the benefit of your AmericanCulturalAssumption's.

--RichardDrake

For better or worse:

BillGates

Despite being a "suit", he's commonly looked at as a software expert in the nonsoftware world.

--RobCrawford

Absolutely - not everyone walks into No 10 Downing Street straight from Heathrow and then travels up to see which parts of Cambridge he doesn't own yet.

LinusTorvalds is creeping in there. He's getting a lot of media coverage.

--FrankCarver

Yes, notice the respect people are beginning to have for Torvalds and TimBernersLee, who haven't made a lot of money from their great contribution to software, compared to someone like BillGates.

--RichardDrake

Any list that includes LinusTorvalds has to include RichardStallman, who is at least as well-known (although perhaps only because of GNU/Linux, which is sort of ironic).

--CameronSmith

RichardStallman may be well known, but I doubt that he's as well respected as Torvalds. To many, Stallman comes off overly strident.


What about AdaLovelace and AlanTuring?

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