Brian Kernighan on Python, AWK and C

Brian Kernighan is 80 but talks like a young geek. His infectious enthusiasm, knowledge of software tools and languages makes him such a pleasure to listen to. He is the author of several books, including what I consider as the Bible of C language. I recall getting my first version and it made reading programs a breeze.

There is one thing I noticed about great programmers. They not only write elegant programs, but the clarity shows in the way they speak and write too.

Some nuggets from the interview.

  • If you can learn only one programming language, learn Python
  • If you have to pick only one data structure, pick associative arrays
  • Good programs are short, their patterns-actions are obvious and they have a natural sequence.

He co-authored a book on Go but talked more about Python and C. I did hear him mention that Python is good for teaching kids (in another interview).

The stories around language and tool evolution are some of the most interesting bits in computer lore.

You can watch the video here.