Maybe it is linked to minimalism and DRY, which software engineers value so greatly.
Even Ciro had to try an unoriginal Buddhist joke intro in one of this Stack Overflow answers.
Ciro also feels that his "minimal reproducible example" scientific language/concept learning method obsession of breaking things into tiny sub-problems has a strong link with koans.
Other programmers are equally obsessed by koans:
- http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/unix-koans/ "The Unix Koans of Master Foo - Rootless Root (无根的根)" by the legendary Eric Steven Raymond is notable
- http://thecodelesscode.com/ "The Codeless Code" by anonymous Qi.
- http://rubykoans.com/ even evil programming languages adopt them!