Users vs programmers 

In TRON, the programs worship their creators, god-like beings called users. Not programmers, users. In 1982, when it came out, there wasn't a real distinction between users and programmers.

My mother in law learned to program at HP. She wasn't hired as a programmer. They just asked who was interested in learning. No prerequisites.

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Users vs programmers 

This idea that some people are suited to programming and some aren't is bullshit. But the computers I had as a kid booted into BASIC or were a single command away from it, literally inviting me to program them. My elementary school also taught me BASIC and Logo in third grade. Nowadays I don't think programming gets taught until high school, if at all. And I imagine they teach some garbage language like Javascript, C++, or Java most of the time.

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Users vs programmers 

Starting out with a "commercially useful" language is idiotic. Python is the only "commercially useful" language it makes sense to teach as a first language. And I'm not sure even that's a good idea, because it's hard to do anything nontrivial without being exposed to the complexity of the underlying system. I think it makes more sense to start with a language that acts as your entire platform, like BASIC, Logo, or Scratch.

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Users vs programmers 

Another possibility I haven't thought about too much yet is PowerShell. It's the only commonly used shell that isn't complete garbage as a programming language. Which shouldn't be that surprising given that it came out of the same company that wrote most of the BASIC implementations I used, as well as Excel, which may have created more programmers than any other system.

It seems like Microsoft has always wanted all their users to be programmers.

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Users vs programmers 

Frankly, I blame Steve Jobs for the user/programmer dichotomy. He clearly saw users and programmers as completely separate, probably because he was not interested in programming himself and made others do it, starting with Wozniak. He consistently killed products that put more power in the hands of users (HyperCard, the Apple II series, the Newton) in favor of black boxes with dumbed down interfaces (Macintosh, iPod, iPhone).

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Users vs programmers 

Bill Gates, on the other hand, has been a programmer since the very beginning and clearly believed that everyone else could be a programmer as well.

Microsoft's failures in the market since then haven't been because this approach was wrong but because of the innovator's dilemma. In fact, some of their biggest failures have come from trying to create their own simplistic interfaces. Remember Bob?

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Users vs programmers 

@freakazoid Well, sort of. He clearly made the same distinction as Jobs in his letters to Byte.

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