Spolsky on Programming Culture

By Deane Barker on December 15, 2003

Biculturalism: Joel Spolsky — Windows programmer extraordinare — has written a lengthy review of Eric Raymond’s book “The Art of Unix Programming.” He expands beyond this, however, to examine the cultural differences between Windows and Unix developers in general.

What are the cultural differences between Unix and Windows programmers? There are many details and subtleties, but for the most part it comes down to one thing: Unix culture values code which is useful to other programmers, while Windows culture values code which is useful to non-programmers.

Throughout Spolsky’s review, it’s obvious that he’s biased on the side of Windows, but in his defense, Raymond’s book is hideously biased in favor of Unix (openly hostile, even).

Raymond’s book is, as Spolsky agrees, phenomenal and you can read it for free. I don’t care what you program on, for, or with — “The Art of Unix Programming” is something you should read.