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{ Category Archives } Responsibility

Criticising the Four Freedoms

The core principle of Free Software is that people who use software retain certain freedoms, unlike the situation with proprietary software in which all of the freedom associated with the software remains with the vendor. Those are the Four Freedoms: A program is free software if the program’s users have the four essential freedoms: The […]

But where to go?

I agree with John Gruber here: it’s not like Apple’s stuff has become worse than a competitor’s, it’s just that it’s not as good as I remember or expect. It could be, as Daniel Jalkut suggests, rose-tinted glasses[*]. I don’t think there is a “better” competitor, except in limited senses: Solaris/IllumOS and OpenBSD both have […]

In which I resolve

When I was a student I got deeply into GNU and Linux. This has been covered elsewhere on this blog, along with the story that as Apple made the best UNIX, and the lab had NeXT computers, I went down the path of Objective-C and OS X. I now think that this was because, as […]

Tech’s Meritocracy Problem

Meritocracy is a myth. And our belief in it is holding back the tech industry from getting better. The intent to be meritocratic is not a myth, but we know what road is paved with good intentions. —from Tech’s Meritocracy Problem.

Fuck. This. Shit.

Enough with the subtle allusions of the previous posts. What’s going on here is not right. It’s not right that I get to pass as a member of the group of people who can work in technology, while others have to justify their very presence in the field. It’s not right that “looking like me” […]

Open Source and the Lehrer-von Braun defence

Tom Lehrer’s song about Wernher von Braun is of a man who should not be described as hypocritical: Say rather that he’s apolitical. “Once the rockets go up, who cares where they come down? That’s not my department,” says Wernher von Braun. The idea that programming as a field has no clear ethical direction is […]

Preparing for Computing’s Big One-Oh-Oh

However you slice the pie, we’re between two and three decades away from the centenary celebration for applied computing (which is of course significantly after theoretical or hypothetical advances made by the likes of Lovelace, Turing and others). You might count the anniversary of Colossus in 2043, the ENIAC in 2046, or maybe something earlier […]

ClassBrowser’s public face

I made a couple of things: ClassBrowser discussion list The project website‘s source is now visible and MIT licensed I should’ve done both of these things at the beginning of the project. I believe that the fact I opened the source really early, when it barely did one thing and then only on my machine™, […]

Laggards don’t buy apps: devil’s advocate edition

Silky-voiced star of podcasts and all-round nice developer person Brent Simmons just published a pair of articles on dropping support for older OS releases. His argument is reasonable, and is based on a number of axioms including this one: People who don’t upgrade their OS are also the kind of people who don’t buy apps. […]

The First Flaw

As she left her desk at the grandiosely-named United States Robotics, Susan reflected on her relationship with the engineering team she was about to meet. Many of its members were juvenile and frivolous in her opinion, and she refused to play along with any of their jokes. Even the title they gave her was mocking. […]