Philip Greenspun

Author of two irreverent books on building DatabaseBackedWebSites, and founder of ArsDigita.

See and
See PhilipGreenspunOnOvertime, and GreenspunsTenthRuleOfProgramming.
Also check out Phil's incredible CV full of amazing Lisp hacking exploits.
He gave the keynote at WinDev last week and went over like a lead balloon. Most people found his work on his framework to be pretty unimpressive. We've all done it many times. Also, his framework is based solely on Unix and Oracle and I've found it very simplistic and dry.

-- sg
On second thought...One of our BoundsChecker people found the following: It depends on your point of view. I found Philip's keynote to be quite interesting. I come from a background where collaboration was extremely important. This is something that is sorely lacking in the PC world unless you use a closed system such as Lotus Notes and is very common in other areas such as VMS especially at Digital. Unix/Usenet news groups try to fill this void but fail because in general they are unmoderated forums.

I would actually be interested in setting up something like Philip's here at NuMega for us to use to discuss designs, etc. Not everything in the world is COM, Win32, etc. The purpose of a keynote is to get you thinking about different things. Philip's outlook certainly did a good job of getting people out of their existing mold. His solution was Unix based but could have been done with any n-tiered technology.

As a user of I found it quite interesting to see the other side of the server and to understand how and why the site works. So far, I've only been a reader of his forum but will eventually start contributing. I currently participate in a number of other private forums that have different focuses and find them extremely useful and an excellent use of my time. They include photography, programming, square dancing, etc. They are much more useful than news groups and when you participate you normally don't have to worry about getting SPAMMED or having to read through some high school student who gives you his 2 weeks of vast experience (this is all weeded out by the moderator).

I've been to a number of conferences where some CEO or marketer gets up and gives you the rah rah speech about their company and their roadmap. These are normally 99.99% marketing and quite often 90% BS. I would much rather get something that shakes up my existing thought patterns and gets me thinking of solutions that might not have been obvious and that I might not have considered at first glance. This is how innovation happens!

-- sg
Greenspun on managing software engineers:
It should be noted that PhilG hates being called 'Phil'. Use 'Philip'. -- StephenVanEgmond
PG is no longer with ArsDigita - "I was pushed out of ArsDigita by the VentureCapitalists and managers that I brought in."

Look for his side of the story at

Philip took his story down. EveAndersson has thoughts on the VC's here:

...and you can still get what PhilG wrote before he was gagged:*/
A bit about (BrokenLink)
Here is the favorite Greenspun quote of DanielKnapp:

ImageMagick is convenient but typing 300 commands like the above for each PhotoCD would get tedious. You know that an MIT woman really loves you when she offers to spare you the horrors of writing Perl. Just grab if you want to use the Perl script that my girlfriend wrote as an expression of her love for me. Of course, no romance is one sunny Perl-filled day after another. When she delivered the code, I complained about the lack of data abstraction and told her that she needed to reread "StructureAndInterpretationOfComputerPrograms" (Abelson and Sussman; MIT Press 1997), the textbook for freshman computer science at MIT. I also asked her to rename helper procedures that returned Boolean values with "_p" ("predicate") suffixes. She replied "People will laugh at you for being an old Lisp programmer clinging pathetically to the 1960s" and then dumped me.

-- has recently been refactored. WebTechnologyReview has become ArsDigitaSystemsJournal.

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