Thompson Not To Check-in Code

kendensAccording to The Register Google won’t allow the co-inventor of Unix and the C language to check-in code, because he won’t take the mandatory language test. (Andrew Orlowski) [C language inventor spurns Google’s language exam]

Q:  I know Google has a policy where every new employee has to get checked out on languages before they’re allowed to check code in. Which means you had to get checked out on C [which you co-created].
Thompson:  Yeah, I haven’t been.
Q:  You haven’t been! You’re not allowed to check in code?
Thompson:  I’m not allowed to check in code, no… I just haven’t done it. I’ve so far found no need to.
[Coders at Work]

The Reg is right; It would be madness for Google to test Ken Thompson on his C programming skills. The Reg is also wrong; It is not because he co-designed the C language. Designing a car doesn’t necessarily make you a good driver. At my own level, I have designed several languages. I wrote test code in those languages but I would not hire myself to code in those languages.

Google should not test Ken Thompson on his C coding skills because it is insulting to one of the icons of the computer industry. Because he is Ken Thompson.