Programmers as Authors

Butler W. Lampson


Citation: B. Lampson. Software—Practice and Experience 2, 1972, pp 195-196.

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Creative endeavour varies greatly in the amount of overhead (i.e. money, manpower and organization) associated with a project which calls for a given amount of creative work. At one extreme is the activity of an aircraft designer, at the other that of a poet. The art of programming currently falls much closer to the former than the latter. I believe, however, that this situation is likely to change considerably in the next decade. The following remarks state (perhaps overstate) the reasons for this belief.