Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Internet needs a new patron saint!

Well, the current reigning patron saint of the Internet and computers in general is Saint Isidore of Seville, an Archbishop of Seville for more than three decades, and considered to be the last scholar in the ancient tradition. Based on this flimsy pretense and nothing else, this man, who died in the year 636 having missed even the invention of the Difference Engine by a millennium, was decreed to be the patron saint of the Internet, and all of computing technology, programmers, and students.

Mind you, this is the same guy who joined in the general Catholic persecution of Jews, by passing "Canon 60 calling for the forced removal of Jewish children from the parents and their education by Christians and Canon 65 forbidding Jews and Christians of Jewish origin from holding public office".

Internet users, programmers, and techie stemmers of all kinds - are you ready to join me in crying "bunk"?


We have far better candidate for the patron saints of programming, computing, and Internetting:

Saint IGNUcious, the tongue-in-cheek alter-ego of Richard M. Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation and spiritual father of all software. Listen, if I stood them both up before Saint Peter at the pearly gates, I'd bet Isidore would be nervously shuffling his feet and eying the side exit before Peter was done reading the half of the list of Stallman's good deeds.

Tim Berners-Lee He got to be in the Olympic opening ceremonies through virtue of creating the World Wide Web, the improvement which opened the Internet up to the masses. That's gotta be worth a brownie point or two.

Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie, the inventors of both Unix and the C programming language. All modern operating systems - no matter how loudly Microsoft lies otherwise - descend from Unix, and all modern programming languages descend from C. I mean, literally the patron saints of computing and programming!

And finally, Douglas Englebart:

What, you don't know who Douglas Englebart is??? I explain in that link. He invented the modern GUI computing interface - the mouse, the icon, the menu, the graphical interface, hypertext... all the pretty pictures on the screen that let you use a computer without having to type in hexadecimal runes at a command prompt. Before Microsoft, before Apple, before even Xerox. And he did it all as research at Stanford university, way back in 1967. Now just look at that picture and that serene, beatific smile on that saintly face: doesn't he look like a saint?

Vatican, your choices suck! Each of the people I've named here did what they did in the genuine desire to benefit all of mankind by putting more computing power into the hands of the masses, potentially doing the human race more good than any ten canonized saints, and they all did it with no thought to their own profit or power.

If your religion can't recognize that these are the true saints, then there's something wrong with your religion.