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Shouldn't Every Developer Understand English? 1077

Pickens writes "Jeff Atwood has an interesting post that begins by noting that with the Internet, whatever country you live in or language you speak, a growing percentage of the accumulated knowledge of the world can and should be available in your native language; but that the rules are different for programmers. 'So much so that I'm going to ask the unthinkable: shouldn't every software developer understand English?' Atwood argues that 'It's nothing more than great hackers collectively realizing that sticking to English for technical discussion makes it easier to get stuff done. It's a meritocracy of code, not language, and nobody (or at least nobody who is sane, anyway) localizes programming languages.' Eric Raymond in his essay 'How to be a Hacker' says that functional English is required for true hackers and notes that 'Linus Torvalds, a Finn, comments his code in English (it apparently never occurred to him to do otherwise). His fluency in English has been an important factor in his ability to recruit a worldwide community of developers for Linux. It's an example worth following.' Although it may sound like The Ugly American and be taken as a sort of cultural imperialism, 'advocating the adoption of English as the de-facto standard language of software development is simple pragmatism, the most virtuous of all hacker traits,' writes Atwood. 'If that makes me an ugly American programmer, so be it.'"

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