Fwiw On his twitter feed Colin made the more nuanced point that we didn't mourn this way for Dijkstra or Jim Gray that we do for Jobs. An interesting thought, but it didn't come through here.
I think what seems to trigger all the downvoting is this bit "De mortuis nihil nisi bonum and all that, but let's face it: Steve Jobs was a skilled salesman, nothing more." and "Let's keep the black bar for people who have actually made a contribution to computing."
One way to counter this opinion is to just state specifically how Steve Jobs is more than a skilled salesman etc. Should be fairly easy to do. I think the skills of a superior tech company CEO (and Steve Jobs was certainly that) go well beyond being a salesman,which has connotations of just selling something other people thought up.
As to the black bar,my personal opinion is that the black bar is a courtesy, a social grace if you will. As with all social niceties it isn't perfectly rational or completely logically justifiable. If you feel irritated by it, just hang in there and it will go away soon.
Meanwhile, thank you Colin, for making me think (about the way we treat the death of a celebrity differently than people who die relatively "unknown" but may have contributed more (on a strictly logical basis).
Absolutely. And if Colin were entirely ignorant of technology, the history of computers, human-computer interaction, etc. to the degree of, say, someone who has been in a coma for 30+ years, then it would be necessary to make those statements.
this is the kind of unhelpful snark that doesn't have a place on HN (imo).
At least with known people like Colin, it seems better to assume good will on his part, just that he has a different opinion on the relative contribution of Steve Jobs.
And specifically to your point, it seems to me that Colin is questioning how much of "technology, the history of computers, human-computer interaction" was actually driven by Jobs himself. His answer seems to be "not all that much" and I do think it is a valid point of view that needs a refutation not a rude dismissal just because he has opinions different from yours.
fwiw I do think Jobs is more than a "salesman". I just don't have the detailed information on his turnaround of Apple or the knowludge of what it takes to run a company etc to refute Colin properly.
I think Colin's more subtle point maybe that even in mourning, we focus too much on the celebrity in the limelight and not so much on the 'real' (please note the quotes) contributors to computing.
All that said, I've said what I think needs saying and won't be saying any more on this and won't extend the thread any further.
Like a lot of other HN ers, I am processing Steve's passing in my own fashion and if I don't say the usual things like "RIP Steve. he will be missed" etc it is because that isn't my style.
Obviously that is his position. And my position is that anyone who would ask such a question must surely have next to zero knowledge of technology, the history of computers, human-computer interaction, etc. An alternative explanation might be willful ignorance.