edit: If you liked this post maybe you will like this one to: Open ScriptWare and/or Solid State Programming
p.s. Sorry had no time to write it shorter
TL;DR - When i was reading about Mindstorms/Seymour Papert it was funny to find that they worked together with Richard Stallman who started GNU which turned into Linux (And Seymour Papert Communist activist is the reason for jokes about communistic Linux). And then when i discovered Recursion and SICP it was funny to find that Sussman who wrote SICP was also working with them. At the AI Lab at MIT. And Mindstorms influenced SICP. So maybe Mindstorms is really an interesting book on Learning/Teaching to Learn and Program.
p.p.s. Even funnier to know that even 'Gnu is Not Unix' is a Recursion. ;)
The Story: :D
When a year or two ago i started to learn some C# programming i went on the internet googling around for a good book to learn programming. Because before that i only had scripted a bit some time ago. And had also some failed attempt to learn some C++ like around 10 years ago. (Maybe the foreign language in which lessons where given was one of the issues. (Or maybe manual memory management lol)). Although i have been quite good at BASIC before that. Also used/learned about Norton Commander/Linux back then.
So when i was searching around i found out that, by diverse suggestions, that best book on the topic of programming and learning was Mindstorms by Seymour Papert. But i never found time to read it. So it stayed on the bookshelf collecting dust. The C# teacher was also enthusiastic about improving the teaching methods/system at our school (CVO Antwerpen). So i wanted to give/suggest this book to him. But first i wanted to read, at least some part of it, to make my own conclusion of how good this book actually is.
When i was reading up about Seymour Papert i discovered that he also, together with Richard Stallman of GNU/Linux, worked at MIT Artifical Intelligence laboratory. And ohh, look at this, Seymours parents are from Russian Empire and Seymour was a Communist Activist. Ok, ok, now i know where the roots are of the jokes about Linux being communistic. I heard Russian people in Europe say that "The ghost of the communism is dwelling around Europe". But i didn't knew it looked like a Penguin. (Joking).
Maybe around half a year later at an 'arduino day' event, in 2014, at our local Linux specializing organisation i met Fedor, a 'Russian' guy, he is studying programming at the University of Antwerp (where i work as a Tech Support/Deploy (Altiris/FOG/OCS/SCCM) specialist). And in one of our chats about technology/programming/linux/operating systems/etc etc, he told me about Knuth being the ultimate
In the meantime i have done some more scripting in PowerShell already, for a few month. Got some Open Source Scripting/Programming languages books (Perl/Python/Ruby anyone). And i am now reading more about programming, instead of Operating Systems/Linux, for a second year already.
The handy thing i have found out about is that, when you lack a good (personal) trainer/teacher. (Im not too positive about our education system). You could kind of come by using some presumably good books. And if you look at amazon you can try to deduce by the amount of rankings/reviews which books are considered popular. You can clearly notice that i am biased in the way a sysadmin would be, thus not interested in algorithms (scrapped on my list) (i suppose all i want is just to learn some scripting (For which Perl/Python/Ruby would be exactly right i suppose)).
So the other day when i was looking at this stats i found out that the C programming language by K&R was the most popular programming book on amazon. No wonder, because Unix/Linux is written in it. As Paul Graham in his book Hackers and Painters mentions, one of the things that every successful programming language needs is a killer app. And what is a biggest killer app for a computer then an ultimate operating system as Unix/Linux. I also dont remember anymore if he said it also in his book, or this is something i thought by myself about. But good, not to thick book is also one of the important points. Ah yes, now i remember, he writes indeed about bad thick books. (Which i also happen to dislike). And so it happens the second most popular programming book on amazon is a thick bad book on Java (the King of Nouns). So ill leave the discussion on whether its a good or bad book for now. And skip to the next one.
And even 'Gnu's Not Unix' is apparently a recursion to. :D
So whats the moral of the story? I suppose the moral is that knowing a few different programming languages is what distinguishes a mere developer and a system engineer. And by comparison of those few programming languages it uncovers you also whats wrong with Java. (And of course i perfectly understand that there is a difference between the technical merits and the marketability).
And concerning which languages to learn and/or maybe even in which order i think the Prophet Larry Wall sums it up really perfectly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LR8fQiskYII