Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 27th Dec 2012 10:19 UTC, submitted by anonymous
General Development "Computers are ubiquitous in modern life. They offer us portals to information and entertainment, and they handle the complex tasks needed to keep many facets of modern society running smoothly. Chances are, there is not a single person in Ars' readership whose day-to-day existence doesn't rely on computers in one manner or another. Despite this, very few people know how computers actually do the things that they do. How does one go from what is really nothing more than a collection - a very large collection, mind you - of switches to the things we see powering the modern world?"
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Listen you little shit. You think you are such a smart young man. "Look at my predictions." I am unique in what I predict, and if anyone disagrees, then fuck them, they are just old, stupid, etc.

Well, your fucking little idea is not original. In fact, it sounds an awful lot like the plagiarism of a DARPA grant proposal done in collaboration between the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI) & the Python group called CP4E (Computer Programming for Everyone.) It's basic premise is best shared as quotes:

We ask a follow-up question: "What will happen if users can program their own computer?" We're looking forward to a future where every computer user will be able to "open the hood" of their computer and make improvements to the applications inside. We believe that this will eventually change the nature of software and software development tools fundamentally.

We compare mass ability to read and write software with mass literacy, and predict equally pervasive changes to society. Hardware is now sufficiently fast and cheap to make mass computer education possible: the next big change will happen when most computer users have the knowledge and power to create and modify software.The open source movement claims that peer review of software by thousands can greatly improve the quality of software. The success of Linux shows the value of this claim. We believe that the next step, having millions (or billions) of programmers, will cause a change of a different quality--the abundant availability of personalized software.

The tools needed for this new way to look at programming will be different from the tools currently available to professional programmers. We intend to greatly improve both the training material and the development tools available. For example, non-professional programmers should not have to fear that a small mistake might destroy their work or render their computer unusable. They also need better tools to help them understand the structure of a program, whether explicit or implied in the source code.

Our plan has three components:

Develop a new computing curriculum suitable for high school and college students.
Create better, easier to use tools for program development and analysis.
Build a user community around all of the above, encouraging feedback and self-help.
These components come together in the scientific exploration of the role of programming in next generation computing environments.

We intend to start with Python, a language designed for rapid development. We believe that Python makes a great first language to learn: Unlike languages designed specifically for beginners, Python is also the choice of many programming professionals. It has an active, growing user community which has already expressed much interest in this proposal, and we expect that this will be a fertile first deployment ground for the teaching materials and tools we propose to create. During the course of the research we will evaluate Python and propose improvements or alternatives.

Yup, that sounds pretty much word for word what you have been sharing with us here in this discussion, doesn't it?

Now, comes the fucking reality check. The reason I chose the time frame of 5 years is because that is a standard time frame for grant models involving things just like this. So, yeah, real world shit instead of your 'ideas' about statistics.

So how well did this program do? Turns out, not so well. Funding was received for one year. Then the people moved on. The program was never renewed and as it states on the archive page for this now defunct project, "It is in limbo". The Python in Education Special Interest Group is a dead link. The CNRI have moved on with no initiatives involving anything like this. DARPA has nothing either.

So, yeah, this isn't going to happen. I don't need even five years to predict this. I can look at an initiative from over 13 years ago that failed before it even reached its five year goal mark. You want something in this current climate to become 'mainstream', a part of society? It is done in collaboration between the government, academia, and then private corporations. You do know the history of the internet, right?

Well, government right now in America is cutting funding and social services. It is all about 'austerity' and balancing the budget after we over-spent on two fucking wars. Academia is becoming less liberal and idealistic and more conservative and pragmatic. Most institutions, including the ones I teach at, are now partnering with corporations to increase their funding which dictates in part what is being researched and taught. Finally corporations want more 'users' than 'developers'. Users buy hardware and software constantly. Developers are now being locked into 'proprietary' off-shoots of open programming languages and being driven to constantly upgrade to the next development model being driven by the user's consumerism. But, hey, you know this too, because you work in IT, right?

We all live in bubbles. Mine is just a lot bigger. Between a private consulting business, work at various corporations and government agencies, and teaching, I have experienced and learned a lot more. That is one of the nice things about being 'older'. We have the experience and knowledge to actually start getting it.

For now, kid, you just don't get shit. Hopefully, you will out-grow it and that you are not representative of your generation.

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