Happy Programmers' Day
Written by Lucy Black   
Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Surprise - today, September 13, 2011 is Programmer's Day! I'd never heard of it either... only one person in the office had but, perhaps it will catch on. Do we want it to catch on?

According to that fount of all knowledge, Wikipedia, Programmers' Day is officially recognized in Russia. Just what that means isn't clear, but in 2009 Dmitry Medvedev (President of Russia) signed a decree to say that it was a professional holiday.

Which day is Programmers' Day?

It's the 0x100th day of the year, or the 256th day in common currency, and this makes it September 13th if it isn't a leap year, and September 12th if it is.

Given that 11111111 is the maximum value an eight-bit number can hold is 255 not 256, why wasn't 255th day of the year chosen?  The reason is, of course, that we programmers, in line with the mathematicians, count from zero so we went to celebrate the 255th day starting from January 1st, which is day zero.

What do we do on Programmers' Day?

Apparently (Wikipedia again) we wear white - and, before the question arises, that is because 0xFFFFFF is white and clearly the all-ones value is a recurring motif on Programmers' day.

Apart from seeking out white there doesn't seem to be much else to do. You could visit


and there is a hashtag for it - #programmerday - but there seems to be no cards and no traditional way of greeting each other on this most auspicious of days.

We asked our in-house poet to help us out and come up with a suitable greeting:

So I say, may Babbage be with you
and may Grace Hopper deal with
all your bugs in the traditional way
on this a very special Programmers' Day.




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