The Ivory Tower saga was Re: strangest systems I've sent email

Brian L. Stuart blstuart at
Wed Apr 27 12:53:47 CDT 2016

On Wed, 4/27/16, Sean Conner <spc at> wrote:
> > The bracketed note in the second paragraph of content on
> > is exactly the sort of
> > thing I'm talking about here; ESR taught himself TeX by the simple
> > expedient of reading the TeXBook.
>   You mean not everybody does this?

Alas, no, but that's really the point I was getting at with the comment
about knowing multiple languages.  It wasn't about the languages
themselves or what value the variety itself brings.  I pulled the half
dozen number out of the air just because if I look back over any
6 to 12 month period of my career, I've used a good half dozen
during that period.  What's important to me isn't the effect on the
candidate's programming; it's the independence, self-motivation,
and curiosity that learning many languages represents.  I also like
to see evidence that the candidate recognizes that no skilled
artisan's toolbox contains only a single tool.  My biggest complaint
about new grads is the view that all the world's a nail, because
the only tool in their toolbox is a hammer.


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