Cover by Joel Spolsky

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twenty-sevenLORD PALMERSTON ON PROGRAMMING

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2002

There was a time when if you read one book by Peter Norton,1 you literally knew everything there was to know about programming the IBM-PC. Over the last 20 years, programmers around the world have been hard at work building abstraction upon abstraction on top of the IBM-PC to make it easier to program and more powerful.

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1. Peter Norton, Inside the IBM PC: Access to Advanced Features and Programming (R. J. Brady Co., 1983).

But the Law of Leaky Abstractions2 means that even as they built the abstractions that are supposed to make programming easier, the sheer amount of stuff you have to know to be a great programmer is expanding all the time.

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