“Absolutely amazing! A page turner, just like Harry Potter for the technically minded.” —Tobias Svensson from review at return 42;

“This book is so interesting I did 60 minutes on the treadmill yesterday instead of the usual 30 because I couldn’t stop reading.” —Joel Spolsky on Joel on Software

“Coders at Work should inspire readers to learn about the wider context of their craft and stop the reinvention of the proverbial wheel” —Vladimir Sedach from review at Slashdot

“Peter Seibel asks the sort of questions only a fellow programmer would ask. Reading this book may be the next best thing to chatting with these illustrious programmers in person.” —Ehud Lamm, Founder of Lambda the Ultimate - the programming languages weblog

“I highly recommend it.” —Andy Mulholland, CTO, Capgemini

“I have long known the names and of the work of about half of the programmers in Peter Seibel’s wonderful book, Coders at Work; and it is fascinating to read their ideas about their lives and their ideas about programming. Better yet, I have now learned about the lives and philosophies of the other half of the programmers in the book, whose systems were known to me but the programmers themselves were not. Anyone interested in computer programming and what makes a great computer programmer will enjoy this book.” —Dave Walden, original member of the BBN ARPANET team

“These are wonderful interviews and this looks to be a bible for any programmer who aspires to be better.” —Peter Christensen, Founder of GeekStack.com

“This book is dead sexy. When it comes out, you should definitely get a copy.” —Joseph F. Miklojcik III from review at jfm3> _

“Superb book!” —Prakash Swaminathan from review at CloudKnow

“Read it, because then you will know the greatest coding brains.” —Amit Shaw from review at Teleported Bits

“One of the other core questions Peter asks is, what books would you recommend to help a developer learn programming? For me, this book joins my short list—it takes you away from the limitations of learning within a single company or community, and shows you the breadth of experiences that can make someone a great developer.” —Marc Hedlund from review at O’Reilly Radar

“The range of topics covered is just astounding.” —Chris Hartjes from review at @TheKeyboard

Jamie Zawinski

Lisp hacker, early Netscape developer, and nightclub owner Jamie Zawinski, a.k.a. jwz, is a member of the select group of hackers who are as well known by their three-letter initials as by their full names.

Zawinski started working as a programmer as a teenager when he was hired to hack Lisp at a Carnegie Mellon artificial intelligence lab. After attending college just long enough to discover that he hated it, he worked in the Lisp and AI world for nearly a decade, getting a strange immersion in a fading hacker subculture when other programmers his age were growing up with microcomputers.

He worked at UC Berkeley for Peter Norvig, who has described him as “one of the of the best programmers I ever hired,” and later at Lucid, the Lisp company, where he ended up leading the development of Lucid Emacs, later renamed XEmacs, which eventually led to the great Emacs schism, one of the most famous open source forks.

In 1994 he finally left Lucid and the Lisp world to join Netscape, then a fledgling start-up, where he was one of the original developers of the Unix version of the Netscape browser and later of the Netscape mail reader.

In 1998 Zawinski was one of the prime movers, along with Brendan Eich, behind mozilla.org, the organization that took the Netscape browser open source. A year later, discouraged by the lack of progress toward a release, he quit the project and bought a San Francisco nightclub, the DNA Lounge, which he now runs. He is currently devoting his energies to battling the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control in an attempt to convert the club to an all-ages venue for live music.

In this interview we talked about, among other things, why C++ is an abomination, the joy of having millions of people use your software, and the importance of tinkering for budding programmers.