The anti-rating of people causing the most technological damage

This is the rating of the worst engineer decisions causing the most damage to the civilization.

The 1 st place. Brian W. Kernighan and Dennis M. Ritchie.

Estimated amount of damage: $50 trillion.

What they did: They invented C programming language.

The damage: Due to a sticky tradition most operating systems are written in this silly programming language, what leads to countless errors, hard work of programmers, and long compilation time.

What they should have done: They should have use Pascal. (Pascal that time missed dynamic memory allocation and modules, but that would be easy to add.) Or alternatively they could do C with proper module manager rather that silly #include directives and support named constants.

The 2nd place. Bill Gates.

Estimated amount of damage: $30 trillion.

What he did: He stole the idea of Windows from Apple and made the worst operating systems series in the history. Due to good marketing and also due to a short time gain of a certain version of his system using less memory than Unix, his bad product became a de-facto standard, pushing down better competitors.

Damage: Bad system, bad programs for it, countless lost files, countless holes used by viruses and other malware. This jerk lost more than he “earned”: even his own computer cannot have good software. Yes, because of his stupidity this jerk has bad software on his personal PC.

Windows has the following disadvantages:

– high cost;

– low quality:

– low speed;

– high load on the computer, high power consumption;

– unreliability;

– poor protection against viruses and other harmful programs;

– bad tools for programmers, and as a result, low quality and high price of programs, reducing the number of different programs;

– poor customizability of the system, often the lack of alternatives;

– opportunities for Western forces to spy on you, because the system is closed and its analysis (counter-espionage) is complicated, and also because of the need to adopt a supplier’s privacy policy;

– complex and inconvenient installation and software update;

– slave binding to Windows as a drug, it is difficult to use alternative systems;

– problems with updating the system, rare and conceived paid updates;

– the impossibility of transferring the system from one computer to another;

– poor support of some modern technologies.

By the way the following program prints 666:

sum=0
for c in "BILLGATES": sum+=ord(c)
print(sum+3)

Why +3? He is Bill Gates III.

Curse him when your PC hangs. Curse him for all other computer problems.

What he should do now (to improve his living level): Abandon Windows and advertise Linux.

The 3rd place. Donald Knuth.

Estimated amount of damage: $5 trillion.

What he did: He invented TeX, the system used now to typeset most scientific articles and books, such as college textbooks. The system has thoroughly bad syntax.

Damage: Scientists spend time in making TeX work instead of the research. As of 2019 it is impossible to publish scientific articles to the Web. Scientists can’t even put ads on their articles to earn a little money this way.

What he should have do: invest a few hours of his time into designing a proper syntax for TeX.

Donald Knuth is the author of a good book, Concrete Programming, however.

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