Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Would Samson have been a good software engineer?

Posted by Dave Bath on 2008-05-04

When Samson cut his hair, his strength left him, or so the story goes.  Recently a thread has been resurrected with lots of photos about the relationships between beards and language success.

Now, just as the authors note that moustaches are the fly-in-the-ointment of the theory (big moustaches a la Larry Wall‘s are as effective on software success as beards), the other way of obscuring the face with hair can involve simple long hair without beard or moustache (the Cousin It method).

Now, while I’m no language designer (just packages of libraries and database structures), and it’s likely that anything I design now will last or at least be popular (see photos here and here), when I was developing systems now well over their 18th birthdays (one will have it’s twenty-first birthday this year), I might not have had a beard, but my hair on my head was even longer.

So perhaps it’s a combination of the obscuration of the face and the amount of hair relative to other IT types (which would have given Amazing Grace an advantage over her colleagues who would all have had crew cuts).

And ken (yep, the lower-case “k” is intentional) had an even more impressive beard when he came to an AUUG conference than in this photo with another god: dmr

And of course, there’s rms who wasn’t mentioned in the posts on beards (never met him, but have exchanged emails a few years back – wish I still had copies!), but GNU is incredibly important, and successful by all the measures that matter.

See Also

SEIR at CMU has one of the best software engineering repositories I know… and has a good emphasis on enterprise architecture issues.


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