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Russia's New Official Holiday — Programmer's Day 306

Glyn Moody writes "Russia's president, Dmitry Medvedev, has decreed a new holiday for his country: Programmer's Day. Appropriately enough, it will be celebrated on the 256th day of the year: September 13th (September 12th for a leap year). Do programmers deserve their own holiday ahead of other professions? Should the rest of the world follow suit?"
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Russia's New Official Holiday — Programmer's Day

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  • Yes. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12, 2009 @12:16PM (#29398783)
    Because without programmers we'd still be hurling stones and whacking each other over the head with bone clubs.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      List of professions that I think are probably more deserving of their own holiday:

      • teachers
      • doctors & other medical professionals
      • social workers
      • scientists & mathematicians
      • mathematicians
      • firemen/coast guard/rescue workers
      • artists, musicians, and writers

      Of course, some of these are sorta already commemorated by labor day, and I would have also put farmers on the list if most weren't just corporate farms these days. I also thought about including inventors (it'd be nice for encouraging kids to be creative a

      • Re:Yes. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Nazlfrag ( 1035012 ) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @02:58PM (#29400097) Journal

        Programmers are teachers, scientists, mathematicians and artists all in one. In that I've never met a programmer unwilling to share their insight and knowledge, hypothesize, construct a proof or make something cool appear on the screen.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Well, if you want to look at it like that, then almost anyone can be considered a teacher. Heck, I used to tutor other students after school at the library when I was in high school. Now, as part of my current web development job, it's my responsibility to teach our new high school intern the ins and outs of web development and graphic design. However, I don't think that puts me on the same level as a career teacher.

          Don't get me wrong, as a programmer myself and one who's learned immensely from other progra

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Jugalator ( 259273 )

          Right. I think I've met more teachers who are better at teaching, than programmers who wish to teach.

          I am a programmer, and I am usually quite reluctant to teaching people about e.g. programming, unless I'm paid for it. It is just too much work, much like the idea of helping out random people you barely know because "I know computers". Give me the money, and then we'll talk. And that, without any guarantees that I'm a good teacher, as, like MOST programmers out there, haven't been educated in pedagogy.

          I mea

      • Re:Yes. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by igny ( 716218 ) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @03:11PM (#29400197) Homepage Journal
        There are teachers', doctors' mathematicians' days in Russia. I am not sure about other but perhaps they exist too. A relevant story.

        A Russian grandpa is asked how often he drinks vodka. He replies "Not very often, only when it is a holiday or after a sauna. For example what holiday is it today?" It appeared that no one could recall any holiday today. The grandpa ponders "Hmm sounds like a good day to go to a sauna"
      • by ghjm ( 8918 ) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @07:22PM (#29401639) Homepage

        Why is the parent rated troll?

        You're looking at this from the US perspective. In Russia, most of your list already exists:

        Teachers Day: October 5
        Medial Workers Day: Third Sunday of June
        Social Workers Day: Second Sunday of June
        Russian Science Day: February 8
        Firemen's Day: April 30

        In addition, Russia has commemorative days for public prosecutors, printed media, mass media, students, men, women, youth, mothers, tourists, elderly people, salesmen and service workers, police, geologists, cosmonauts, chemical industry workers, librarians, border guards, light industry workers, inventors, fishermen, postal workers, metallurgists, children's books, Slavic literature and culture, railroad workers, aviators, construction workers, miners, oil and gas workers, forestry workers, machinists and equipment workers, farmers, customs workers, automotive workers, security service workers, rescuers, power engineering specialists, and every concievable type of military workers.

        Adding a Programmer's Day to this list is not particularly jarring or surprising.


  • by John Guilt ( 464909 ) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @12:17PM (#29398791)
    ...setting up a bot-net to send 20 phishing e-cards each to everyone _not_ a programmer.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by gracesdad ( 1558105 )
      I was coming here to say the same thing, kudos sir! The last real program to come out of Russia was Tetris, hardly worthy of a holiday.
      • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @12:43PM (#29399019)
        Yeah, and we all know that Tetris didn't do anything other than create an entire new market for games and changed the face of gaming by introducing portable gaming as a real means of gaming. Without Tetris we wouldn't have the DS or PSP.
        • by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Saturday September 12, 2009 @01:28PM (#29399435) Homepage Journal

          Whoever modded parent "troll" is a jackass. Tetris really was a profoundly important game; given its popularity and the market it spawned, it's probably up there with, say, Visicalc and Mosaic on the list of (so to speak) game-changing software -- programs that weren't just commercially successful, but created a market for a whole new type of computing. Given that today's cell phone games -- many of which are very Tetris-like -- use more processing power than what was generally available on the desktop when Tetris was first introduced, dismissing its importance because it was "just a game" is a mistake.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Yeah, but it looks like they have a plenty of _real_ programmers. It's quite striking that MIT didn't win the ACM competition in at least 10 years:

        # 2009 - Saint Petersburg University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics, Russia
        # 2008 - Saint Petersburg University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics, Russia
        # 2007 - University of Warsaw, Poland
        # 2006 - Saratov State University, Russia
        # 2005 - Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China
        # 2004 - Saint Petersburg University of Information Te

      • Right now, a significant part of Firebird (RDBMS) development takes place in Russia. JetBrains is also a mostly Russian company, and many a Java developer swears by IntelliJ IDEA. And don'Å get me started about ABBYY and Kaspersky Labs products...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12, 2009 @12:18PM (#29398799)

    Programming Celebrates You!

  • Humm .. (Score:5, Funny)

    by PIBM ( 588930 ) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @12:18PM (#29398805) Homepage

    I would have had it on the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 8th, 16th, 32th, 64th, 128th and 256th day of the year, if I was to choose ;)

  • by presidenteloco ( 659168 ) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @12:19PM (#29398815)

    All programmers in Russia are permitted to work only a single 8 hour shift
    today instead of the usual 16 hour shift !

    • by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Saturday September 12, 2009 @12:26PM (#29398873) Homepage
      It's ironic you make that joke, since one of the first reforms the Bolsheviks made during the October Revolution was reducing the working day to 8 hours.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by jorghis ( 1000092 )

        Amazing how defenses of Bolshevik economics get modded up in spite of how truly horrible it was to actually live in an economy like that. I would rather work in a country where you can actually earn something for a full days work than one where the government comes in and mandates that noone is allowed to work more than 8 hours. I work probably 9-10 hours a day, but at least I get something out of it. And I would not have in the old 'Workers Paradise'.

        • Or, you know, you could live in France, work seven hours a day, and actually have time to enjoy life. I don't want my tombstone to read "He died at his desk".

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by CRCulver ( 715279 )
          Where did I defend the Bolsheviks? They created a heinous regime. I simply commented on the irony of the OP portraying them as stern taskmasters, as one of the ways they initially won over the people of Russia was by reducing working hours.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by jorghis ( 1000092 )

            Sorry if my post came across as a 'Youre a commie!' type of comment. :)

            However, they were extremely stern taskmasters. What do you think happened to people who did not work, worked less, or decided they wanted to quite their job and do something different? I'll give you a hint: It was a hell of a lot worse than getting fired or making less money which is what happens when you skip work in the USA. When you completely remove incentives to excel the only way anything gets done is if you punish people who d

            • by Cyberax ( 705495 ) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @06:18PM (#29401293)

              Maybe you should learn some Soviet history?

              Criminal punishments for skipped workdays were in effect from 1940 to 1946 - essentially during the WWII.

              Later, there were punishments for 'social parasitism' if you were unemployed for more than 4 consecutive months (not counting vacations, medical leaves, full-time education, etc.). And the Soviet government guaranteed employment for everyone.

              So stop telling fictional horror stories. There were enough real horror stories about the Soviet regime.

        • by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Saturday September 12, 2009 @01:45PM (#29399585) Homepage Journal

          I think you have no idea how horrible things in Russia actually were before the Revolution. "Earn something for a full days work," bwahahaha. Yes, in retrospect Communism was a terrible mistake. But it didn't happen in a vacuum -- there was a reason people were willing to fight against the existing system.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by jorghis ( 1000092 )

            No doubt things were bad in Russia, but the Bolsheviks were not the ones with the solutions. There were lots of pro-democracy and moderate socialists who on the rise before the Bolsheviks seized power. Those were the ones who could have turned Russia's industrial revolution into a good thing, but Lenin (and later Stalin) basically had them killed and exiled. To say that the Bolsheviks were the champions of workers welfare is just crazy. :)

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Cyberax ( 705495 )

              "There were lots of pro-democracy and moderate socialists who on the rise before the Bolsheviks seized power."

              Read about the February Revolution ( [] ).

              In short, democrats and moderate socialists were given power when the Tsar had been deposed. But they squandered it. And were deposed in turn next year during the October Revolution.

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by dunkelfalke ( 91624 )

                It even gets worse. As they saw them losing the civil war, they fleed to another countries and left more or less scorched earth behind them - they were ok with Russian people starving as long as the reds don't get any working industry.

        • by Hurricane78 ( 562437 ) <deleted.slashdot@org> on Saturday September 12, 2009 @02:28PM (#29399891)

          Well, it's not all black and white here. The idea was to eliminate worker extortion. A concept you might know from not being able to quit when the working condition / pay ration becomes unbearable.
          Their attempt obviously failed. But the spirit was undoubtedly a good one. (As it usually is.)

          Their main faults were to think that "everyone is equal", while some still were "more equal" than others. Thereby again creating the old hierarchy, or "boss paradise".
          (Originally, those "more equal" were just there to manage the transition, and then dissolve. Which for reasons of basic human behavior never happened.)
          We must accept, that humans first think of themselves. Even when we give, we do so, because it feels good to us, and because we follow our goals. If your goal is to make someone else big, and that makes you happy, you still do it for yourself. So this does not mean it is bad. And as for being egoistic, being the opposite of altruistic sacrifice, I can just quote someone I do not like very much, but who is right:
          “It stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there’s someone collecting sacrificial offerings. Where there’s service, there's someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice, speaks of slaves and masters. And intends to be the master.” — Ayn Rand

          So my solution (yes, I thought about this quite a bit) is very simple: In such a new "company", everyone can work for multiple people and let multiple people work for him. So it's not a hierarchy anymore, but a free graph. Which means that not only a boss can prefer one of his employees, but an employee can prefer one of his bosses. Or in proper non-biased terms: A service provider and a money provider, or two service providers, (two money providers would be strange, but thinkable), have equal freedoms. If one of your "bosses" offers a crappy deal, you can say no, and take a better one. Just as he can take a better one than you. You don't have to have any long-term contracts (although you can). You can simply work on a project basis.
          This would not have been possible, two decades ago. But with computers being ubiquitous, the whole contract-, "self-employment"- and tax management, can be automated. Even as a service.
          I'd try that. Even if just to see the flaws, and fix them.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Cyberax ( 705495 )

          Have you ever wondered WHY Bolsheviks had won?

          Workers in Tsarist Russia were forced to work 16-18 hours six of seven days a week to be able just to feed themselves. For them there were no paid vacations, no pensions, no healthcare, no nothing. Do you think that anybody in their right mind would agree to work additional 8 hours in a coal mine just for fun?

          "I work probably 9-10 hours a day, but at least I get something out of it" - that's because workers' movements had won in the USA and other Western countri

  • Seems odd... (Score:2, Interesting)

    As much as programmers do often work hard and produce nifty things, why this rather than, say, surgeons' day, or police officers' day?
    • by Anonymous Cowar ( 1608865 ) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @12:29PM (#29398905)
      because surgeons or police officers are less likely to create a website on a whim to promote a holiday.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Well, in Russia, police officers, medical workers, and every other profession actually have their own "days" as well.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by kmike ( 31752 )

        > Well, in Russia, police officers, medical workers, and every other profession actually have their own "days" as well.
        That, and also there seems to be a misunderstanding here, aka lost in translation. It's not a holiday in a sense that the whole country has a day off. It's just an official nifty name for this particular day. Also a good occasion to praise the work of your friendly programmer in the next cubicle.

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      Or goddamned secretary day, for that matter.
      Oh wait...

      • Or goddamned secretary day, for that matter.
        Oh wait...

        So if the CEO walks in and announces a Programers Day, instead of flowers, you'd expect what?

        Great job! Here's a USB stick. Everyone's signed the card!

    • by Punto ( 100573 )

      do the important jobs even get a "day"? "programmer's day" sounds like "secretary's day" to me (I better get some nice flowers tomorrow)

    • by cutecub ( 136606 )

      Or... National Dairy Goat Awareness Week []

      Goat Awareness Week Proclaimed by Reagan

      June 21, 1987

      WASHINGTON -- President Reagan took time out Friday from visiting with Chad's president, tracking South Korean unrest and trying to influence a Senate trade bill to proclaim last week "National Dairy Goat Awareness Week."

      Acting on a congressional resolution, Reagan praised dairy goats for their ability to thrive in harsh surroundings and for their link with American history.

      I'm glad we all have our priorities in or

  • At least... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by amightywind ( 691887 )

    At least it doesn't interfere with Obama's Day of Service to our Government masters on September 11.

  • by mindbrane ( 1548037 ) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @12:22PM (#29398835) Journal
    In Russia the programmers program you!

    I think, in what is fast becoming a fascist state of one part gangsterism and one part corporatism, the programmers they're talking about aren't the programmers you're thinking about.

    • by Weezul ( 52464 )

      Yes, these just don't have the following of talk like a pirate day or caps lock day. ;)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hurricane78 ( 562437 )

      As far as I know, they are the worldwide providers of cracks and rips for all our software and movie needs. Then the Chinese distribute it.
      I, for one, am thankful for that service. ^^

      Oh, and my sig unintentionally fits your subject nicely: (copied into the comment for long-term archiving)

      Real hackers hack brains! Real tinkerers tune their body! Computers are for n00bs. ;)

  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @12:23PM (#29398847)

    Do programmers deserve their own holiday ahead of other professions?

    Probably not ahead of scientists/mathematicians/enginneers. But still, pretty cool.

    And can't but think it will be yet another forgotten day - secretary's day, siblings day, etc. All exist, all forgotten. Every day is proclaimed something and the novelty wore off or never caught on. Probably the only novel thing would be to have a "regular" day where nothing is officially remembered/celebrated/commerated/pissed_on/whatever.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by sjames ( 1099 )

      Not to mention mattress sale^w^wpresidents day.

    • It's probably because it's hard to know know how to celebrate it, and it's not quite as broadly applicable to the populace.

      That's really what the International Talk Like A Pirate Day has going for it - everyone can participate, it's easy to celebrate!

      (oh, and for the mute out there, I'm sure you can sign like a pirate, too. Just not in my general direction, ok?)

  • In 20-30 years, we may have a holiday to honor the warriors of the internet battlefield. With cyber command coming online in the next few years and government sanctioned internet attacks coming out of china, the next great war might be fought with light cycles and crazy computer graphics that stand in for a command console. Think of it as a memorial day, but for those who fight to defend our infrastructure.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      The occasion might lack some emotive force when the only casualties are sufferers of carpal tunnel syndrome...
    • by Krneki ( 1192201 )
      Nah, it will be the same as it is today with Windows bot-net. People using insecure devices will get owned. The problem will get bigger, because more and more stuff will move on the Internet.

      I for one welcome our Ghost hacking overloads.
  • You give holidays to people when you want them to keep doing what they're doing without getting paid more.
  • answer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nomadic ( 141991 ) <nomadicworld AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday September 12, 2009 @12:29PM (#29398897) Homepage
    Do programmers deserve their own holiday ahead of other professions?


    Should the rest of the world follow suit?

  • by ( 142825 ) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @12:33PM (#29398929) Homepage

    People who do web sites are not programmers, unless you write it in C,FORTRAN, or assembler!

    Be a real programmer. []

  • by Mr. Flibble ( 12943 ) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @12:38PM (#29398975) Homepage

    Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but the "worlds oldest profession" probably needs its own holiday too.

    It is a holiday that has been a long time in coming.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I guess someone paid a lot to make it a long time coming.

    • Absoutely! On the 69th day of the year! Or the 68th day and I'll owe you one.

      But, then again, don't corporate programmers prostitute themselves already?

      • >

        But, then again, don't corporate programmers prostitute themselves already?

        Corporate programmers are like the hooker with the heart of gold. We ENJOY it.

    • by jonbryce ( 703250 ) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @01:03PM (#29399215) Homepage

      Isn't that the 14th of February?

    • by Chemisor ( 97276 ) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @02:37PM (#29399955)

      "God performed surgery when he removed Adam's rib, so my profession is indeed the oldest" said the doctor. "But before that God performed feats of engineering to create the Earth from void and chaos, so my profession must be the oldest" countered the engineer. The programmer looked at them contemptuously and replied: "gee, where do you think void and chaos came from?"

  • Programmers wont be so happy with their day changing in leap years (is almost a tradition to forget that they exists or not calculate that properly, in the other hand, you can say you grown as programmer when you start caring about that detail).

    But if they want to take a date which number means everything, they could pick Feb 11th, with the advantage that dont change leap years (is not specific for programmers but a lot will get the reference).

    Or go full binary with i.e. 10/01 (01/01 is already taken) or g
  • And on programmer's day, programmers get to work 20 hours to meet a dealine!
  • we should be able to get it onto every electronic calendar system in the world.
  • by Adrian Lopez ( 2615 ) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @12:53PM (#29399105) Homepage

    "Do programmers deserve their own holiday ahead of other professions? Should the rest of the world follow suit?"

    Yes. Every conceivable profession should have its own holiday, on its own day, and each of these holidays should apply to all workers alike.

    "Stevens! Where have you been? I'm still waiting on that documentation!"

    "Oh? I'm just here to pick up my mail. Don't you know? Today is Auto Mechanics Day."

    "I want that documentation by tomorrow!"

    "Oh boy. I'm so sorry, but tomorrow is Plumber's Day!"

  • Do programmers deserve their own holiday ahead of other professions?


    Should the rest of the world follow suit?

    Hell Yes.

  • If they where really thinking about programmers they would not compensate for leap years or day light savings time for that mater at least until version 3 of the holiday...

  • hold your horses (Score:5, Informative)

    by slonik ( 108174 ) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @01:01PM (#29399189)

    In Russia a "professional holiday" is NOT a real holiday and it is NOT a day off. It is a mere sign of appreciation for a certain professional activity. You might hear nice words about your buddies on TV and Radio and you have one more reason to have some drinks that day. Most of "important" professions in Russia have their professional days -- from teachers, doctors all way to police and steel-mill workers. It is no surprise whatsoever that IT workers (aka programmers) get their professional day too.

  • And I thought Russia couldn't get any more comical.

I am more bored than you could ever possibly be. Go back to work.