The biggest heroes and villains in IT history have been revealed as the results of a new poll are published. Perhaps rather surprisingly, Steve Jobs is just as hated as Bill Gates and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is more hated than both of them. But that's just where the shock results from this particular survey start: wait until you see how people voted in the 'greatest computing hero of all time' section.
The poll, conducted by IT and Telecoms recruitment specialists Greythorn, asked IT professionals in the United Kingdom who they thought the most unpopular person ever in the history of IT was and the resounding conclusion was Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg with a pretty convincing 19.4% share of the vote. Amazingly, given his recent death and hero status amongst many geeks the world over, Apple founder Steve Jobs managed to get exactly the same 14.7% of thumbs down votes as the traditional computer world hate figure of Microsoft founder Bill Gates to come joint second on the list.
Just behind them were the flamboyant Larry Ellison (co-founder of Oracle), Jack Dorsey (founder of Twitter), Shaun Fanning (founder of Napster), Sir Alan Sugar (founder of Amstrad), Jerry Yang (founder of Yahoo), Pierre Omidyar (founder of eBay) and totally bafflingly Shigeru Miyamato (designer of Nintendo's Mario).
The whole list is, to be honest, rather confusing. I can understand people having a beef with the Facebook and Twitter creators over privacy issues perhaps, and the Mac vs PC wars have probably played a big part in the positioning of Jobs and Gates. But why would the founder of eBay make the most hated list, or the creator of the hugely popular Mario game for that matter?
Things are no clearer when it comes to the most loved list either. Bill Gates beat off Steve Jobs with 20.6% of the vote compares to 17.4% with Alan Turing (the father of computer science) just behind in third on 15.6%. Yet Charles Babbage (the father of the computer itself) struggled into fourth place with just a 5.5% share. Perhaps the most confusing aspect of the poll results is the fact that so many of the heroes and villains turn out to be the same people. Zuckerberg is the most hated man in computing history but also ranks number 10 in the heroes list. Jobs and Gates are both in the top three of both lists, and even our friend Shigeru 'Mario' Miyamato makes both lists. Just as confusing is that there is no sign of anyone from Google on either list! Maybe what it actually reveals is how schizophrenic the British computing industry is when it comes to the love/hate relationship it has with the people whose innovations had helped create that industry in the first place.
Which just leaves us to ask the inevitable question: who is your greatest computing hero and villain.