How to Code Like Bjarne Stroustrup

Stroustrup shares some secrets about his work habits.
  • Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

Question: What is your work setup like?

Bjarne Stroustrup: I travel with a little laptop, the smallest real computer I can get.  So the 12-and-something screen and... but a decent processor speed.  And where I am, I plug it into a dock and I use two screens and such and then I network to any other resources I want.  If at all possible, I would like to make that machine smaller, but... or at least lighter.  Larger and lighter would be nice, but I don’t get it and too light if you’re stuck in a sardine-class seat on a plane, you still should be able to open up and write.  And you can’t do that with one of those bodybuilder’s editions.  So a smaller machine, convenient machine that you can carry with you and plug it into a bigger system network to more resources.  

My laptop is a Windows.  People always ask that.  And they can’t understand why it’s not my Linux.  Well, my Linux happens to sit on my desk and it talks to a traditional Unix through it.  So I use both on a daily basis.  It just happened that it’s easier to carry the Windows books around.

Question:
Do you prefer to work at night or during the day?

Bjarne Stroustrup: Real thinking, real work goes on fairly early in the day. And then in the evening, no, not really sort of thought work, not creative work.  I can polish stuff.  I’m not a night bird like that.  I like to think when I’m fresh.  

Question:
Do you listen to music while writing code?

Bjarne Stroustrup:  Quite often, yes.  I have a mixture of stuff on the computer; I just plug in the earphones and listen.  And there’s a mixture, there’s classical, there’s a bit of rock, there’s a bit of country.  It’s quite surprising what I can actually work with and what I can’t because it really does affect it.  There’s music that sort of takes over and you think about the music, rather than the code.  That’s no good.  And then there’s music that you don’t hear... that doesn’t help either.  And well, so well I found something that works, probably just for me, but I like some music.  

Recorded August 12, 2010
Interviewed by Max Miller