Strong opinions, weakly held

More on why you should learn to program

The most awesome story I read yesterday was trial coverage from Oracle’s lawsuit against Google over Java and Google’s reimplementation of Java for Android. Here’s the judge explaining to Oracle’s attorney (famed litigator David Boies) why Google had no incentive to copy the code they were alleged to have copied:

I have done, and still do, a significant amount of programming in other languages. I’ve written blocks of code like rangeCheck a hundred times before. I could do it, you could do it. The idea that someone would copy that when they could do it themselves just as fast, it was an accident. There’s no way you could say that was speeding them along to the marketplace. You’re one of the best lawyers in America, how could you even make that kind of argument?

As folks like Ray Cromwell and Mike Loukides point out, this is the best refutation I’ve seen for the argument that people shouldn’t learn to code.

As a software developer, I’m thrilled that Judge William Alsup learned to code at some point, and that he’s doing some programming to help evaluate the evidence being presented in court. It’s common to see people making policy decisions, legal decisions, and business decisions that wind up being terrible because the decision makers lack the technical knowledge to even solicit good advice.

As I said yesterday, I welcome anyone who wants to dive into programming.


  1. That blockquote is great. If only all decision-makers could bring that level of insight to the issues they work with…

  2. Patrick Berry

    May 21, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    To be fair, even though the title of the post is “Please Don’t Learn to Code”, the article is more about how not everybody should have to learn to code.

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