talk dirty to me (unfinished implementations of complex software)


it's hard to explain to people that software is a fundamentally communal activity because they're like "ohh you're a dev! you must be so smart!" and like. it literally does not matter how smart i am. none of this works at all unless we can collaborate across time and space.

techies are so culturally libertarian that even they can't see that overwhelming sense of mutual responsibility. i seriously feel like i learned to program on another plane of existence sometimes.

@garbados i feel like whatever limited degree of "computer lib" made its way to the tech industry, was mostly purged out, including at a hiring level, by the mid-90s. which fucking sucks, and a lot of the bullshit that's happening now is because of that. it's like all the nerds got body swapped with frat boys

@poiseunderchaos @garbados

It felt to me like a big change happened during the dot-com boom, where suddenly software became A WAY TO BECOME RICH FAST! Suddenly a lot more of "those" people came into the industry.

It was after this that I started hearing "brogrammer." I spent years thinking that was a joke, because it was the complete antithesis of the software culture I grew up in and still had around me. (I also was isolated in my part of the industry from the dot-com boom.)

@garbados the more I think about it the more I think that the interesting thing about foss is not the license at all but the fact that it's the only exposure many people get to anarchist means of production

@technomancy @garbados OOOOHHHHH this is a fun realm of conversation, because I think the FOSS space is also a great example of folks not "getting" anarchism, either: the questions like "well how will it scale?" (maybe it doesn't need to!), or "but why build it?" (, etc

@klardotsh @garbados I mean yes, but "I'm doing this because I want to" doesn't always mean "I'm doing this for fun"

it can mean "I'm doing this because I believe it's important and no one else will make it happen" or "I want to be part of something bigger and work towards helping people instead of contributing to someone's bottom line"

that latter motivation was a huge part of why people contributed to foss back in the early days of the linux desktop but back then they had a myopic focus on license rather than the broader effect software had on peoples' lives

@technomancy @garbados No right or wrong answers or leading q here, I just am curious how you think of the problem space: with the benefit of retrospect, if you coulld hop in a time machine to the heyday of "**hobbyist** FOSS for the betterment of us all" (which I'd personally guess/argue ended around 2013, give or take a couple years, though might slowly be seeing a comeback) and warn folks the spark was about to be lost... what would you recommend they do differently? "they" can be anyone ig.

@klardotsh @technomancy i would leap back to 1980 or thereabouts and slap richard stallman and associates until they decided to unionize instead of having legalistic pissing contests

@klardotsh @garbados ah, great question!

for that in particular first you have to deal with the fact that "open source" is just a way for companies to appropriate the good vibes of the free software movement and their user empowerment rhetoric; without that you just end up muddled and providing free labor for corporations because you "believe in open source" (also if I had a time machine I'd kick esr in the nuts)

@klardotsh @garbados but even once that's out of the way I'd point out that this path leads us to a world where everyone uses a 100% no-blob-firmware free software OS to launch a web browser and connect to services that sell personal data to advertisers, manipulate users, and construct endless walled gardens to prevent interoperability. what good is an open source browser when the only web sites you visit are controlled by tech companies that would gladly throw you under the bus to reach their quarterly goals?

@technomancy @garbados The epitome of "the source code was never the point", well put. I guess, though, the retrospective debate *then* becomes "how do we motivate people to work on the much murkier problems around working around the rampant spread of siloed SaaS shit, when at the time, the pressing matters that devs saw were (ex.) "my GPU doesn't work on this OS""

Fascinatingly I'm actually having a hard time answering this *myself* without somewhere in the paragraph referring to a license...

@technomancy @garbados As with most places in society (and almost certainly intentionally so), there are very few levers Folks Not Playing Strictly The Money Game can pull to compete with People Who Almost Entirely Care About Money, maybe "use XYZ licenses" became a proxy for that issue because it's one of the few such levers?

Otherwise, you're fighting what amounts to a social war, which isn't necessarily bad, just hard: convincing folks en masse to ignore the rise of eg. Twitter at the time.

@technomancy @garbados And to be clear, I do remember many people sounding the alarm in those times about such things, and ultimately they'd prove to be right. The "Not F'd" (in the style of the Facebook logo) stickers and so forth...

@klardotsh @technomancy @garbados not to take away from the larger conversation, which I love, but I also enjoy using the license as part of a broader performance act, along with the software itself, like with something I call the Chaos License, which is just a shit-postier version of the Fuck Around and Find Out License

@klardotsh @technomancy @garbados i think an important question we'll need to focus on in the coming years, before we run out of years (and i don't just mean Y2038), is: "how will it scale down?"

to a local community level
to a nomad community level

how will it scale down to those?

@meena there's a hopepunk scifi book that more or less explore this idea of scale: a half built garden by ruthanna emrys @klardotsh @technomancy @garbados

@klardotsh @technomancy @garbados FOSS, where we can still have "I built this for my needs, but I'm sharing it. You can use it if you want. or not I don't mind"

@technomancy @garbados FOSS is anarchist at its best, solipsism at its worst, and painfully libertarian in the average case

@aeva @garbados oh absolutely; I'm not saying foss projects on average succeed here, only that some do, and those some are basically the only exposure a lot of people get to these ideas

@aeva I am not sure if I concur with that even slightly. I think of libre/free open source software a lot more like libraries; an altruistic common good.

The existence of libraries, does not devalue commercial book sales, indeed before the Gutenberg press, libraries, though extant, were few & far between & books: mostly painstakingly copied by hand, were typically chained down so they couldn't be easily stolen.

Libraries, also don't preclude grimoires & esoterica.

@technomancy @garbados

@byterhymer @technomancy @garbados My earlier statement is ambiguous, so to clarify: I wasn't talking about software or licenses, I was talking about people. Sorry for the confusion.

@aeva Software, is definitely written by people & comes with all of the problems humans have, for sure.

Something about this thread reminds me of Tom Jennings as well as his perspectives on FidoNet shared in the BBS Documentary. The whole thing is worth watching, but sometimes bike shedding is excruciatingly exasperating to originators, e.g.

FWIW purportedly, Tom Jennings designed FidoNet inspired by anarchistic principals.

@technomancy @garbados


That's FidoNet though. Having known Doug Englebart and some of his contemporaries personally, I don't know if I would describe them as any of the labels you previously used?

Perhaps in their time, they might have been labeled as hippies, or visionaries or "heads"?

Engelbart's core vision behind SRI's Augment group & NLS was to co-create systems to facilitate the ability for people to collaboratively solve problems beyond the abilities of any one individual.

@technomancy @garbados

@aeva @technomancy @garbados what a pile of 💩 (read the clarification too later on).

FOSS people cannot be categorized in boxes like this, you'll find ppl with every kind of belief.

Even those that are selfish and would normally not share a line of code occasionally find themselves forced by social dynamics.

This attempt to box ppl in few extreme categories is detrimental to understanding how the ecosysthem really works.

@garbados Yeah! Sometimes I'm so glad I self-taught myself from a young age and went for a liberal arts degree.

Improv club did more to prepare me for the profession (especially when pairing) than the CS courses I took ever did.

@jaycie the comparison to improv is interesting. i'm pairing for the first time at this new job and it's a very new kind of social space to me.

@garbados I mean, *good* programmers totally get this. When companies talk about interviewing for "culture", the better ones largely mean, "Does this person understand that this is deeply collaborative work?"

But yes, it's pathetic how many engineers have this Objectivist ideal of the lone genius hacker who does it all by himself (it's basically always male). They're usually a disaster in the real world.

@garbados I feel that extra hard where I work. I'm a unionized software developer, and so many of the other developers have such a strange relationship with our union

@garbados I have a theory that this is why our interview process is the way it is. Developers with inflated senses of self worth at large companies take their prestigious position to heart and create an artificially exclusive process because they only want other people "as smart as they are." It doesn't matter that for most positions, their everyday job does not typically require above average intelligence to do anything.

@garbados So much to tech is people lifting each other up and I just wish more people realized it.

@garbados well I showed up to this thread a little late and don't have much to contribute other to say that the replies and conversation here have been a really fun read!


No wonder I have such a hard time trying to be a solo dev. 🤔

@garbados the real 10x developer is the one who can build consensus with 9 other nerds

@garbados unless you crank out a script in a few minutes and only ever interact with it as a user from then on, all programming is at least temporally social.
Lemme tell you about this idiot Past Kevin some time.

@kevingranade but what does that script run on? who made it? what language are you using, and who made that? who produces the hardware that facilitates the software? there is no individualist form of programming.

@garbados caveat failed. I'm thinking in too stratified a way.

@kevingranade lol sorry, i am one of those "it's society all the way down" types

@garbados Also, there's an assumption if you know software, that you ALSO know hardware.

I was amazed at my first job learning how many coworkers were completely in the dark on building their own machines.

@garbados exactly, I got into a bit of an argument with a new programmer at one point about this: that software projects if any notable size aren’t built by solo coders, they fired back with a company that sure had been started by one guy. Curious! how since then the company grew to 100+ ppl. After I pointed that out, it turned into “I guess we just disagree”


A great point.. and true of so much more than just software development!

@garbados I mean when does anything worthwhile get done without collaborative support? People mistake their engagement style with the actual process.

@garbados just set a Google reminder set to sunset everyday to remind me to put the raw peanuts out for my feathered cousins.

@garbados I feel like this needs to be shouted from the rooftops, from the beginning of a dev's learning journey. This was certainly a perspective I lacked, and still need to remind myself of, on the regular.

@garbados well put, I've been experiencing this process from the business analyst side for several years now and this is definitely the case.

@garbados i’m the dumbest motherfucker i know but i can still get the job done because of the community

@garbados I wish collaboration was taught and encouraged a bit more in college instead of treating it all as copying. Real life requires it!

@garbados Individualism and its consequences were a disaster to humanity.

Most >things< achieved by human beings were collaborative in their nature. Building on achievements past, building on collaboration with other minds.

But we are indoctrinated to think in terms of special individuals, so.

@garbados and people underestimate the deep time aspects of that. If someone hasn’t kept tribal knowledge and current expertise alive the documentation and code on anything sufficiently complex isn’t good enough anymore…

@garbados @mekkaokereke “If I have coded further than others it is because I have imported the Nuget packages of giants”

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