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I would put it simply: Clojure was designed by a thinker, who creates when he is away from the keyboard, not in front of it. When one releases and breaks the code in his head first, very few breaking changes are left for the public releases.



It takes one to know one. (Or so I would like to think.)

Rich's writing, presentations, and example of overall conceptual discipline and maturity have helped me focus on the essentials in ways that I could not overstate. I'm glad (but not surprised) to see so much appreciation for him around here, even among non-Clojurists (like myself).

At the risk of fanboyism, I am constantly referencing his ideas* to my team, and I give them my blessing to watch any of his talks as soon as they come out.

* That is, the old but sometimes obscure ideas whose importance he's brought to his audience.


I made the mistake of showing the 'hammock driven development' talk to an employer of mine. He got annoyed by it and said he thought that it was just providing programmers with an excuse for staying away from the computer when they should be writing code.


It is kind of heartbreaking.

But, although my current manager is excellent at supporting his team and would never think such a thing, let alone say it, the truth is that, unless you're a professional researcher, you really do have to do the hammock-driven thing on your own time, either by working it into your routine or by taking a long sabbatical (as Rich did). It's something I struggle with, even at a very good workplace.

"Nothing is more precious" than the chance to think through a problem over a long term, and as things stand, the best tool for thinking is still the mind, not the keyboard. I can see how that takes a leap of faith when your chief deliverable is code.

Anyway, maybe a better introduction for your typical manager is,

> The most expensive problems are problems of misconception.


>>it was just providing programmers with an excuse for staying away from the computer when they should be writing code.

That would be code as carpentry development model. Often encouraged by career managers.

There are plenty of those in the industry, people who have had rapid promotions before they could do non-trivial engineering work.


Has he ever written code that was used in production and he was in charge of the project?


He became a project manager when he found he wasn't good at writing code after becoming a coder when he found he wasn't a good physics researcher.


Rich Hickey is a great thinker. But he's also an application developer (Datomic). So breaking changes don't just break "other people's code" in the abstract. The pain is real and immediate. By wearing multiple hats he's finding the right balance in a way that language designers who don't code day-to-day simply can't.


The deification of Rich Hickey in this thread is amusing. No doubt he's a great developer and language designer, but dogfooding your own language is not exactly novel.


I think the original statement was implicitly about using the language to build large complex systems in industry, not just about "using" the language which I agree would be kind of silly - who would work on a language they don't use in some way? But I always had the impression that most language designers were academics, e.g Alan Kay, Stroustrup, or professional programmers building what were initially 'hobby' languages (Ruby, python) rather than building something they would use in production in industry.

Standards must be low if that's now "deification" :)


I got the point of the original statement, but again, even building a large and complex system is not unique to Clojure. Go was used internally within Google, Swift within Apple, and Rust within Mozilla, to name a few.


I'm not really sure where you see this "deification" — but as for me, I simply have a lot of respect for him. Mostly because every year or so he comes back with another solution to one of my problems. I don't agree with all his choices (I find some of his naming compromises particularly bad), but I still respect (not "deify") him.

Listen to some of his talks and you will see why people respect Rich.


>The deification of Rich Hickey in this thread is amusing.

Hi Trevor,

funny that you should say that - I've met Rich Hickey and had some great conversations with him - and what I always tell everybody is how normal, humble, human, down-to-Earth he is. (Which is probably deifying him even more, from your point of view).




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