Jan van Oort ( 44 years, The Netherlands / France / Austria), ex-Dutch Marine Corps, is a software engineer and mathematician. His career up to today was spent mainly in the aerospace industry, where he worked on – amongst others – the A380’s autopilot and the Ariane 5 booster rockets. Apart from that, he furnished work on the Ozone Open Source ( Java ) database, and on the data model for Visualis, the world’s first all-Java network monitoring tool.
He is now a software architect with a Vienna development & consulting firm. His work shows a strong emphasis on the theoretical foundations of what truly makes reliable software. Conceptual elegance is one of his main concerns in the design of even the smallest chunk of code: “I’d rather fail gracefully than succeed ugly.”
What drives him is one main and all-pervading thought: As software is a tool for people to do their work both more efficiently and with more pleasure, creating such tools – if and when these are acclaimed by their users – is a greatly rewarding experience. Clean code is only one of the ways to end up with stable and beautiful tools that do their work silently and graciously. Two of the very best illustrations in this field, to Jan, are the tomcat application server ( Java ) and the Emacs text editor ( Lisp ). One other way is team work – but only if and when such teams operate on the basis of consensual decision-taking, and respect their most non-conformist members. All other teams are, in his experience, the result of corporate and managerial “pressure to perform”, and doomed to fail.
Jan is also a lyrical poet, a whisk(e)y lover, an opera aficionado, a chess player and a crossbow shooter. Meet Jan at the Global Day of Coderetreat Vienna 2011.