Bill Gates on Open Source
I borrowed a copy of Programmers at Work and found some pretty good comments in there from the Bill Gates interview. It's harder than heck to get a copy of this book--I ILL'ed it, and then they only let me keep it for a week. But here's the quotations. These are either from 1986 or 1989; my guess is the interview was closer to the former.
Is studying computer science the best way to prepare to be a programmer?
Gates: No, the best way to prepare is to write programs, and to study great programs that other people have written. In my case, I went to the garbage cans at the Computer Science Center and I fished out listings of their operating system.
You've got to be willing to read other people's code, then write your own, then have other people review your code. You've got to want to be in this incredible feedback loop where you get the world-class people to tell you what you're doing wrong.
I also like this one:
I think most great programmers like to be around other great programmers. When they think up an incredible algorithm, they like having peers who can appreciate the cleverness that went into it, because when you're creating something like that and you have that model in your mind, it's a lonely thing.
He also talks a great deal about programs need to be fast and efficient, not bloated with features...Man how things have changed, eh? The book was originally published in 1986, and it's not clear what was updated (if anything) for the 1989 second edition. However, most of Gates' examples are of the 4K version of Microsoft BASIC.