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In the message board Jasper suggested "the camel from the cover of Programming Perl". timspalding and andyl thought that "rather Perl-specific" and asked for a "language neutral image".
But is someone can provide one, my choice would be an obsolete piece of computing equipment, e.g. a unipunch, teletype, or core store.
If you want irony, then a man with sideburns in a green polyester suit with a wide tie holding a lineprinter listing and leaning over a woman with long straight hair in an orange miniskirt seated at a teletype. Basically, every computer ad of the early 1970s.
I think I may be showing my age.
You can't get much more platform and language neutral than an abacus, right? Otherwise, something similarly abstract like a string of binary digits, perhaps?
Or maybe a depiction of a camel, a python and a cuckoo (see Programming PHP) in a three-way tryst? ;)
Off on holiday now (well, honeymoon actually), and I've been forbidden from taking any programming books with me! How will I cope...?