[Techtalk] Programming languages for women
james at james-web.net
Sun Mar 3 22:05:11 EST 2002
I think what jennyw was more trying to say was communities that were
more open and supportive, not necessarily that the language was actually
written for women. Am I right, jennyw?
But it would be an *interesting* psychology/computer research hybrid
experiment to find what in programming men and women find easier to use
or more difficult to understand.
I find that as a guy, I'm very... Procedural. I need to be able to see
a clear set of steps. Is this common to all programmers, just male ones
or am I totally bizarre? :)
> -----Original Message-----
> From: techtalk-admin at linuxchix.org
> [mailto:techtalk-admin at linuxchix.org] On Behalf Of Amanda5
> Sent: Sunday, March 03, 2002 9:02 PM
> To: jennyw; TechTalk
> Subject: Re: [Techtalk] Programming languages for women
> At 11:52 AM 3/3/2002 -0800, jennyw wrote:
> >On the topic of getting more women involved in open source,
> are there
> >languages that are more woman-friendly than others?
> IMHO Wrong Question: Imperative programming languages (ALGOL, Basic,
> Pascal, C, C++, Java, Ada, Fortran etc) are not intended for males or
> females they are intended for expressing arithmetic
> algorithms on machines.
> Programming languages have no inclusive notion of gender.
> languages provide a way to express an algorithm on a target CPU.
> Programming languages are machine oriented. Programming
> languages have
> mathematical underpinnings. The best programmers have broad
> as well as deep
> knowledge in math as well as theoretics in computer science such as
> automata, grammar and computability. One such person was
> Admiral Grace
> Murray Hopper. Here is an interesting quote about a
> distinguished woman
> pioneer in the field. "Probably no one did more to change
> the conservative
> culture of the 1950's programmers than Grace Hopper." Cambell
> and Aspray,
> "Computer, A History of the Information Machine," 1996.
> Grace Hopper (a
> woman of distinction) was one of the first to build the types
> of compilers
> we use today. If you read her papers there is no discussion
> about building
> male or female oriented languages. Her discussion is about
> from arithmetic to business oriented algorithms that can be
> compiled and
> run on the first CPUs. There are other non-imperative
> languages that
> attempt to express subject orientations like AI in LISP and
> mathematical proofs in PROLOG and calculus in REDUCE. IMHO
> languages tend to be subject and CPU oriented not male or
> female oriented.
> What features would you have in a woman friendly language?
> What algorithms
> or declaratives would you try to express or program in a
> woman friendly
> > Since the number of
> >women are in decline in programming, this may need to
> include current
> >non-programmers and beginning programmers.
> I'm not sure why the numbers have declined. Today women have so many
> choices its not clear to me why other women have made the
> choices they have
> made. IMHO our lack of supporting the math and sciences in elementary
> schools has more to do with the issue than anything else.
> >Technical issues aren't the only
> >consideration, though.
> >Programming languages tend to have cultures
> >associated with them. The culture of C++ programmers I experienced
> >wasn't particular woman-friendly (actually, it was kind of
> >woman-hostile -- lots of boys with big egos and rampant sexism).
> I'm going to have to disagree with you on that one. Actually
> if there is
> such a culture as C++ it is not really C++ it is Object Oriented
> Programming or OOP. OOP folks have philosophical ways of
> thinking about
> expressing algorithms differently as do database people as do
> AI folks as
> do graphics folks as do web folks. I think you might be more
> influenced by
> your negative relationship with the guys on-line as an
> on-line culture than
> a language culture such as C++. It is very true that on-line
> males tend to
> behave like children hanging out under a dim street light in the back
> alleys of the Internet. They have tormentive manners that
> would buy them a
> spanking from their moms if they were found out. I lurked
> from the shadows
> of that group for a while and found them to be not worth my
> time. The group
> of on-line boy C++ programmers are but one group. Over a
> period of time the
> good "guys" leave because they do not want to put up with the
> nonsense any
> more than you do. Have you tried University based groups?
> There are also
> professional groups like ACM and IEEE. AND there is this
> friendly group 8-)
> >My limited experience with the SmallTalk community was positive, but
> >unfortunately it's not a particularly popular language these
> days, and
> >might not be a good choice for open source projects. I don't
> know about
> >Python, Perl, and PHP.
> With Open Source there appears to be a developing culture
> regarding the
> philosophy of access/use and the costs of software with
> developing rank
> and file purposes.
> >There was a recent discussion on comp.lang.ruby about including more
> >women, and Ruby seems like a pretty clean language that seems to be
> >gaining popularity, and there is significant SmallTalk crossover. On
> >the other hand, there were also comments about there being a
> >shortage of women in the Ruby community, even compared with the
> >computing community at large.
> Don't know anything about Ruby. Never heard of it.
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