Readers throw other technologies on the pyre

Fortran, LANTastic, Wang systems nominated for inclusion in the dead or dying IT skills list

Computerworld's list of 10 dead or dying computer skills prompted some readers to submit their own technologies that they felt deserved to be mentioned on the list.

"If we're going to mention [OS/2], why not mention Mac OS 8?" asked "Denver Web Design." Another anonymous reader suggested HTML would be a good candidate for the list, thanks to the growing popularity of easy-to-use "what you see is what you get" HTML editors.

The Slashdot discussion thread included several additional nominations, target="new" such as qmail and Fortran. A few Slashdot users created entire lists of dead or dying technologies and skill sets. Orion Blastar named Turbo Pascal, LANTastic, DBase and Clipper, WordPerfect 5.0/6.0 macro writing, Amiga, old DOS software, BeOS, Wang systems and Assembly Language.

"Remember writing native code for the 8088, 68000, 6502, 6809, IBM Mainframes, etc.? Hardly any company wants us to write in Assembly or Machine language anymore. It seems like only hackers use these to do exploits and write malware," Orion Blastar said.

Another Slashdot user, Stochastism, built an "alternative top 10" list that lamented dead or dying skills among programmers:

  1. Communicating with people instead of machines.
  2. Commenting and documentation (actually, that's a computer [skill] that people never had).
  3. Coders that know how computers work.
  4. Coding to a limited memory budget.
  5. Using debuggers effectively.
  6. Coding fundamental data structures (like lists).
  7. Figuring out computational complexity (why is it taking so long).
  8. Assembly-level coding of critical routines.
  9. Coding/testing/debugging across a slow serial link.
  10. Reading other people's code.

A third Slashdot contributor created a tongue-in-cheek list of "skills we want to kill," which included mass marketing ("also known by the fuzzy name spam"), poor industrial design and Cobol "because it is the vampire that needs a stake through the heart."

Have your own suggestions for dead or dying computer skills? Visit Computerworld's Shark Bait to submit your nominations, or discuss the technologies that others have nominated.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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