Talk:List of programmers

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Steve Jobs[edit]

According to Steve Wosniak's website, Steve Jobs really didn't do any of the programming for Apple, so although he did have programming jobs before Apple, seeing as being Apple's co-founder is what Jobs is notable for, should he still be included on the list of programmers as he isn't particularly notable as a programmer? Applepwnz

The article is about "...programmers notable for their contributions to software...", not something that can be said about Mr. Jobs, thus I will remove the entry. --Aleistad —Preceding unsigned comment added by Aleistad (talkcontribs) 18:34, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

Programming language designers[edit]

Maybe we should create a separated page for language designers? There are many persons listed only for languages they invented, maybe they wrote the original implementation, but creating a language is rather different from being a programmer. This also would help clean up a bit, I see at least four or five 'co-creators' of PHP for example. Lost Goblin 18:56, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

Eric S. Raymond[edit]

um. In the list of famous progarmmers, shouldn't ESR be credited with the sotware he created, not his ideology? um. what software did he do? - Asa

In addition to fetchmail, he wrote a large portion of the code that ships with Emacs, including the version-control and debugging modes. ("According to RMS's credit list, I [esr] appear to have more Emacs Lisp code in the standard Emacs distribution than anyone else but him.") He has a big list at: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:54, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

ESR is not a famous programmer by any stretch of the imagination. He is a famous commenter and encyclopedist of the hacker movement, and hacks himself, but his programming alone certainly wouldn't have made him famous. --AxelBoldt

Actually, I beg to differ; today he might be more famous as an advocate, but what put him in the spotlight originally and gave him the bona fides was writing fetchmail. He's done plenty of other programming since as well. --LDC

Ok, fetchmail is a solid piece of work, no question about it, but look at the other works listed: Unix, C, gcc, perl, Linux. They seem to be a lot more substantial than fetchmail. Also consider the projects not listed: Apache, Samba, Python. I think ESR derived most of his fame from the Hacker's dictionary before the open source thing started. --AxelBoldt

If writing a language (C, Perl) is sufficient to be on this list, ESR goes on here just for that. He did the first INTERCAL compiler. ;-) Seriously, though, I think he should be here. --Pinkunicorn

I agree with you AB. i think ESR should be removed. Also: did he even originate fetchmail? I thought he just carried it on for someone else? - Asa

ESR is a programmer who is famous, so at least technically he fits; he also fits the description on the page. Bill Gates could be counted too. I program for a living and couldn't have named the Samba guy on a bet, so I wouldn't say ESR isn't famous enough given the current set.
Removed Samba guy. im fairly determined to keep this list kinda elite  ;). -- Asa

I'm far from a fan of ESR, and I'd argue that his programming contributions are insignificant compared with giants like Ken Thompson and Tony Hoare. But I think it's undeniable that he is a famous computer programmer. I don't think the page has a requirement that the programmer be famous for programming, and I don't think it's desirable for Wikipedia for it to have suchb a requirement. Doesn't Woodrow Wilson qualify for inclusion on a list of teachers, however insignificant his contributions to teaching might be? -- Dominus 23:04, 21 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Actually the page does have the requirement that the programmer be famous for software contribution. It says "This is a list of programmers notable for their contributions to software, either as original author or architect, or for later additions". So I do believe ESR should be removed. As it was noted, he is not famous for his programming. His largely self-claimed hackerdom is also disputed. However he should be listed in Free Software authors since that page doesn't have an "elite" requirement. I've added him there. Should we remove him from here? Sam 20:29, 13 Aug 2004 (UTC)


Moved the list of famous programmers to its own page. also copied this talk to the talk on that page - Asa

What did Hopper do? -- Asa

Grace Murray Hopper isn't famous as such for writing anything -- she was one of the earliest pioneer programmers, in the 1940s and 1950s. She was one of the first people to come up with the idea of a programming language (as opposed to writing in machine code); she developed several early programming language compilers for the UNIVAC I, and she was heavily influential in the development of COBOL.

Also, I'd but Andrew Tridgell back. He's more famous as a Programmer than others still on the list: i.e. Sid Meier! He may be famous as a game designer, but not primarily as a programmer. -- Simon J Kissane

ok, cool. so i got rid of Meier too, as i was not aware of that. lets keep it to programmers not designers or thinkers! Any other non-progamming "thinkers" in the list?-- Asa

Putting a definition of "famous" here isn't appropriate; that's just a personal opinion, so I removed it. Likewise, I put back ESR, because he is a serious programmer, and author of very influential books on the process of programming. He certainly belongs here more than Berners-Lee does. I don't think quibbling over who belongs here and who doesn't is at all useful. This isn't a popularity contest, it's just a list of links people might want to know about. I'd put Bentley and Kernihan here too, as influential authors. Just because the software they wrote was not something the public used, they are hardcore master programmers and influential in the field. --LDC

Well, in that case Bill Gates should be on the list, because he *was* a programmer (twenty or more years ago, of course) and he *is* famous, and people *would* be interested in his bio.

While we're naming names, how about Dave Cutler (lead designer of VMS and Windows NT, if I recall correctly). Tim Patterson (who wrote what became MS-DOS), maybe?

Cutler was already there. I added Gates, Bricklin, Wozniak, and Kapor. I don't know much about Patterson. --LDC

Another name we should add - Ada Lovelace, who worked with Charles Babbage on the design of the Analytical Engine, and designed a bunch of programs for the machine before Robert Merkel

We can't reasonably expect to list all programmers on this page -- just the most famous ones. I would question the two authors of Sinclair ZX Spectrum games, unless there is more history that I am unaware of (Bo Jangeborg, Jeff Minter, Andrew/Philip Oliver). Eric Raymond definitely does not belong -- if we list him, we'd need to list hundreds or thousands of others (look through, and see the number of programs bigger than fetchmail are there alone -- add in software for other OSes, and you've got a metric crapload). He was never famous for programming, just for writing. I'd also suggest removing Egon Zakrajsek, unless he's done something outstanding not listed. On a meta level, does it make sense to maintain this sort of list? It seems like there's too much temptation to play favorites/add people one knows/etc. - 11 Feb 2004

In practice, it's going to be limited to those people who either have bios or are likely to have bios when somebody gets around to writing them. Non-famous will typically get their bios deleted and the link removed from here in turn. Trust the wiki process, let it flow through you and guide your every action... :-) Stan 01:04, 11 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Peter Deutsch and L. Peter Deutsch[edit]

The item about Peter Deutsch claims he wrote the QED text editor. On the Qed page it says it was written by L. Peter Deutsch. Furthermore Peter Deutsch links to a politician. Therefore I am merging the two items; it seems clear the "Peter Deutsch" listed is in fact L. Peter Deutsch. Sam 20:10, 13 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Greatest programmer category[edit]

Anybody have ever heard of Bill Joy ? or Dennis Ritchie ? or Bjarne Stroustroup ? You should recognize these names ..! These are in the greatest programmer category. - 30 Aug 2002

they have been added.
Since when are Bill Joy or Bjarne Stroustroup great programmers? have you read any of their code? Lost Goblin 10:34, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
Being the authors of vi and the first C++ compiler, respectively, are pretty serious claim to programmer fame, whether the code is pretty or not. Where does it say "great" anyway?
On another note, what program did Steve Jobs ever write? Nasorenga 08:32, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

Article Name[edit]

suggestions for title:

  • List of notable software programmers
  • List of notable software developers
  • List of notable computer programmers

- User:Rj 22 Mar 2004

Words like 'notable' are not to be used in list names. see Wikipedia:lists

Egon Zakrajšek[edit]

... "pioneer of computer science in Slovenia, texbooks for Z-23 assembler, structran"

According to wiki page about mr. Zakrajšek, he actually didn't write any program that made a difference... If every professor that ever wrote a textbook on programming or computer science edns up here this list will become too large and won't have any meaning. So, his name should be removed from this list...

Iltestagrande 14:41, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

It's deleted.

nicola 13:54, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

Non-Notable Programmers?[edit]

I've noticed some programmers listed here that I've never heard of nor did they turn up anything paticular on Google. The programmer(s) in question are under S and their last names, as you will notice, do not end with an S and do not have any links or references, unlike the others, and one even contains an email address.

Chand, Naresh ( Programmer (Artificial Intelligence - Crow Theory)

Therefore I think it would be in the best intrest of Wikipedia's notability policy to remove these names since they look like self-promotion and stand out from the rest of the article.

-- 00:04, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

This page is the recipient of "CV spam" i.e. people posting their own names because they feel they deserve recognition for writing a program. I am of the opinion that this page should only contain people who already the subject of an article in Wikipedia. akaDruid (talk) 16:09, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
While I agree we don't want self-promotion, the lack of a bio article would lose a number of historically important people. For example, I previously rescued Jean-François Groff who was co-develooper of the world wide web.
I don't know what the solution is, but lack of name recognition shouldn't constitute grounds for removal. Outside of Microsoft and Apple, many key people merely lead (or led) a quiet life. Googling isn't a complete answer, because those prior to 1980 are less likely to show up. Examples would be D.D.McCracken and Paul Abrahams, unknown now, but highly influential in their day.
--UnicornTapestry (talk) 13:20, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
The test isn't name recognition, it's WP:Notability. We do not report our own personal opinions. We don't have pages on subjects that seem important. We have articles on subjects for which there are multiple WP:RELIABLE WP:INDEPENDENT WP:SECONDARY sources about the subject to establish not only that the subject seems notable but that others not connected to the subject have actually taken note and that they've done it in WP:RELIABLE sources with a reputation for fact-checking and editorial control. If an individual is on this list, it should be because they're notable because that's the test we use and because it actually is objectively testable. The simple way to enforce this, the same as with other WP lists, is to insist there must be an article. Obviously, the fact the article exists doesn't guarantee the subject is notable (because people constantly create all kinds of spammy articles all the time), but we have a separate procedure, called WP:Articles for deletion for deleting articles on non-notable subjects. For more, please see WP:Write the article first. Msnicki (talk) 17:33, 21 July 2013 (UTC)

Lillian Schwartz[edit]

Lillian Schwartz - Pioneered the foundation of computer graphics during the times of the IBM/360 at Bell Laboratories at Murray Hill in NJ. Check youtube for some of her early computer graphical work. Also check here wikipedia Bio. She is an emmy award winning computer artist. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:00, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Bruce Schneier[edit]

"Bruce Schneier (born 15 January 1963) is an American cryptographer, computer security specialist, and writer. He is the author of several books on computer security and cryptography, and is the founder and chief technology officer of BT Counterpane, formerly Counterpane Internet Security, Inc." [copied from:] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:42, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Ron Avitzur[edit]

"After Apple cancelled his project, Graphing Calculator he, together with his friend Greg Robbins, continued to work for free, sneaking into the building every day in order to continue development of the software.[1] When completed, the software was so impressive that Apple executives used it as their standard demonstration of the then-new PowerPC chips, and agreed to ship the calculator with Mac OS 9." [copied from:] In addition to creating a unique, powerful, and educational piece of software, the story was so noteworthy that it became a story featured in both technical and non-technical press (there was even a segment on "This American Life", a national radio program). Androider (talk) 22:44, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Alexandre Julliard[edit]

What about Alexandre Julliard. He is the lead developer of Wine and has been since 1994. Fsamuels (talk) 02:40, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Good point. Added! — Alan De Smet | Talk 02:23, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

Daniel Bolstad[edit]

Neither Daniel Bolstad, nor his alleged Digital Ray 06-94 converter, seems to have made much of an impression elsewhere on the web. I suppose the entry is fake and would like to see it removed, if nothing substantial is presented in the Daniel Bolstad page (which doesn't exist at the time of writing this). --Rootmoose (talk) 16:49, 5 December 2008 (UTC)


In a single stroke, User:Damiens.rf has wiped out a number of historical figures he deems 'non-notable', including one of the inventors of the World Wide Web, a chairman of the ACM, several computer language inventors (including SmallTalk and PHP), OS developers and inventors, and numerous authors of projects who shaped the world we have today.

While I agree there's a number of developers who don't have biographies, this doesn't mean they're insignificant. A glance at requested articles for software programs shows a backlog, so it's little wonder the authors themselves don't have biographies.

What I suggest is that the internal red links be removed and not the entries themselves. I don't see a definitive consensus about this, just questions asking why Grace Hopper is significant (shaking head) and a suggestion by Stan to let the wiki process sort it out.

Looking at the Non-notables section (above), I see a couple of people saying, "I've never heard of them, so they shouldn't be listed." You have to consider your age and exposure might limit who you're familiar with. Everyone's heard of Bill Gates, but Dr. Grace Hopper was one of the most influential professionals of her era. Dr. Paul Abrahams was world-renown in his time. You might not have heard of Jean-François Groff, but you might not have the World Wide Web without him.

The decision to keep or discard should be based upon their accomplishments (or lack thereof) and not whether or not they have a biography. I've reverted until this can be decided.

--UnicornTapestry (talk) 10:00, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

control who edits this page?[edit]

Is there any way we can control who edits this page? Such as it is done on the more popular pages(Bin Laden, Einstein, etc). It seems that many people want to put their selves on this page. It is quite annoying. Jwh335 (talk) 02:03, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

Dr. Paul Abrahams[edit]

The page he is linked to must be wrong, unless he is better known for his performance in sport than in programming. Kristensson (talk) 08:56, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

You're right! He doesn't seem to have a bio page.
--UnicornTapestry (talk) 12:43, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
I moved Abrahams from this list to List of programming language researchers.


One thing to reduce the list is removing the game developers to their own page.

(Disclosure: I'm guilty of adding a game developer in.)

--UnicornTapestry (talk) 13:44, 2 July 2009 (UTC)


Please! Insert names in alphabetical order. --UnicornTapestry (talk) 11:53, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

done, but PLEASE add new names in alphabetical order. Lentower (talk) 23:34, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Establish criteria for inclusion[edit]

What are the criteria for inclusion in this list?

1. The Programmer has an article on him. 2. The Programmer has made a notable contribution to Computer Science and\or the Software field.

3. But what about developers of key website? Neither Larry Page nor Sergey Brin, the founders of Google are mentioned. Nor are founders of hotmail, facebook, paypal, who all are accomplished programmers.

4. If the Software they made has a Wikipedia article , does that entitle them to be included in the list? eg:-Irfan Skiljan, author of IrfanView That could make the list pretty long. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:54, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Oddity / oddities[edit]

  • It's strange Brian Kernighan's item has nothing about C, since I've a C manual with his name on it.
  • Complex softwares have long list of programmers working on them... I suppose there's a simple criterion to pick up one instead of another — the most important is who wrote a lot of code, who wrote the first line of code or who cares about PR and is on everyone's mouth? Hard to say.
  • Shouldn't be programmers to decide who is notable and so can be in The List?
  • Where are notable programmers who worked/"created" things like OpenStep? Maybe Jobs himself has done something, but the WP article talks about NeXT and Sun... should we investigate who really programmed the stuff? And what about GNUstep ...? Should we add Casamento/Fedor, or GNUstep does not deserve it... Ok, then dig who did the Cocoa framework (or should we only count as notable original OpenStep creator...?), I think it's not Jobs...

I believe such a page can grow a lot if same criteria are applied to identify notable programmers of the same kind already accepted (*), .... or must be shrunk a lot and define in a programmatic way who can be considered a notable programmer.

(*) E.g. are in the list programmers of Microsoft Word... well, we must include every programmer who wrote a word processor? Yes, since MS Word has nothing really special, except being a well-known expensive proprietary software sold by a huge power known company. But from a programmer point of view, I can't see any notability in who wrote that... or rather: I see the same notability in who wrote OpenOffice Writer, AbiWord ... and so on. Everyone, or nobody. --Ittakezou0 (talk) 17:54, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Pamela Crossley[edit]

I don't think that she should be on this list. Tyra3l (talk) 08:03, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Steve Wozniak[edit]

Steve's game was Little Brickout, not Breakout. It's mentioned in the Integer Basic for example. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:59, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

Never mind, looks like it was both. Live and learn... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:55, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

Proposed merge with List of software authors[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
The result of this discussion was to merge List of software authors into this article. Proposed just over 4 months ago with no opposition. — Rhododendrites 18:12, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

These are basically the same thing - both list programmers who are notable; all programmers in the wikipedia are notable by definition. Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 22:06, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.


this list is brain dead there are too many programmers to list. also: the more important ones aren't in the list, ie, the developers of Apollo or X-Windows (Xerox workstation windows) , too many books and programs to shake a stick at, teachers, students

what idiot has started this list and why are there mostly euro/asian names in it ?? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

It's not a list of all programmers. It's a navigational aid to articles on Wikipedia about programmers. Wikipedia has systemic biases that lead to uneven coverage, but you can fix that. Create articles about programmers from other areas and add the names of those who have articles but aren't listed. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 21:12, 27 July 2015 (UTC)