Print Story The cultural sub-text of hello world
Funny stuff
By whazat (Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 01:59:23 AM EST) (all tags)
This is the first (and probably last) in a series of articles exploring the nightmare world if computer science and cultural studies combined.

It looks at the sub-conscious reasoning behind using "Hello world" as the first program to create in a programming language.



"Hello World" or HW has an important place within the mythology of computer science. It is the Alpha of all programs, the one that comes before all other. There is an obvious reason for this: it is a simple program that you can verify the correct workings of.

Most people would think no more than this, and miss the subtle and constraining undertones of the phrase "Hello World". At first glance this would appear to be nothing more than a cheery welcome to the world at large, an affirmation that the programmer is open and friendly.

However as people who have spent any time around programmers know, this is the furthest possible conclusion from the truth. Also whilst the words say "World", the program is really only speaking to the singular programmer, a lonely figure reaching out to the organic world but only managing his inanimate computer. And so he anthropomorphises it attempting to invest the computer with humanity and cheer, however it remains a cold lump of plastic and silicon.

In short HW is a solid example of the dichotomy between an insular recluse and his social yearning, which highlights the inherent tragic nature of the relationship between man and programming.

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The cultural sub-text of hello world | 3 comments (3 topical, 0 hidden)
My God! by gazbo (6.00 / 2) #1 Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 02:09:54 AM EST
I always have my first programs say "You disgusting fat pig!  You don't deserve to eat - vomit now!"

I had no idea it meant I had a problem :-(


I recommend always assuming 7th normal form where items in a text column are not allowed to rhyme.

There are other indicators too in your case... by Dr H0ffm4n (5.50 / 2) #2 Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 03:01:57 AM EST


[ Parent ]
And I thought I had problems by whazat (6.00 / 1) #3 Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 03:04:26 AM EST
with

void main()
{
  while(true)
  {
    printf("All work and no play makes jack a dull boy\n");
  }
}

--
The revolution will not be realised

[ Parent ]
The cultural sub-text of hello world | 3 comments (3 topical, 0 hidden)