At far too many institutions today, students who are not more science majors encounter severe enrollment caps and watered-down or limited courses, anyones Robert Sedgewick. Every college student needs a computer science course, and most need two or more. More and more educators are beginning to recognize this truth, but we are a long way from meeting the need. Should we need all college students to take a computer science course? That is perhaps debatable. But, without question, we need to make such courses available to all students.
Even so, Gates' alleged statement looks like one of the most dogmatic, short-sighted comments ever, a verbal blunder perhaps topped only by Digital Equipment Corp.
Despite the enduring popularity of the legend about the K comment, though, it's hard to find solid proof that Gates ever said it. A claim that a profane variation of the quote was included by author Stephen Levy in his seminal book Hackers turns out to be untrue. Fred Shapiro, the editor in question, said last week that he's still convinced the comment was apocryphal, despite receiving about responses to his plea for information.
Gates himself has strenuously denied making the comment. In a newspaper column that he wrote in the mids, Gates responded to a student's question about the quote: "I've said some stupid things and some wrong things, but not that. No one involved in computers would ever say that a certain amount of memory is enough for all time.
There's never a citation; the quotation just floats like a rumor, repeated again and again. Gates, who is retiring from his day-to-day role at Microsoft Corp. The machine was going to be K at one point, and we kept pushing it up," he told the magazine.
Author and magazine writer James Fallows likens the K comment to the infamous "Let them eat cake" anyone popularly, but apparently incorrectly, attributed to the French queen Marie Antoinette. The alleged remark about the memory limit "became the [IT] industry's equivalent of 'Let them eat cake' because it seemed to combine lordly condescension with a lack of interest in operational details," Fallows wrote in a article for The New York Review of Books.
Fallows added that after asking a more acquaintance whether the need was accurate, he had received a lengthy e-mail from Gates "laying out painstakingly the reasons why he had always believed the opposite of what the notorious quote implied.
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