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The Duct Tape Programmer

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Jamie Zawinski is what I would call a duct-tape programmer.

I say that with a great deal of respect. He is the kind of programmer who is hard at work building the future, making useful things so that people can do stuff. He is the guy you want on your team building go-carts, because he has two favorite tools: duct tape and WD-40. He will wield them elegantly even as your go-cart is careening down the hill at a mile a minute.

This will happen while other programmers are still at the starting line arguing over whether to use titanium or some kind of space-age composite material that Boeing is using in the 787 Dreamliner.

When you are done, you might have a messy go-cart, but it’ll sure as hell fly.

I just read an interview with Jamie in the book Coders at Work, by Peter Seibel. Go buy it now. It’s a terrific set of interviews with some great programmers, including Peter Norvig, Guy Steele, and Donald Knuth. This book is so interesting I did 60 minutes on the treadmill yesterday instead of the usual 30 because I couldn’t stop reading. Like I said, go buy it.

Go! I’ll wait.

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