Damn you, Eric S Raymond!
Well, let me introduce you to Eric S Raymond, he is prominent speaker for Open Source Movement. His book, Cathedral and The Bazaar, is a must-read for Open Source enthusiast and hacker. His roles in Open Source movement are as historian and ambassador.
For me, his most engaging article he ever written is How To Become A Hacker. The term hacker in this case is closer to Linus Tovalds, rather than Kevin Mitnicks. Hacker in this case is problem solver. Able geniuses that trying the best to solve the hardest and most interesting problem in the world. People that collaborate, learning, and sharing knowledge to everyone that care. People with passion and excellence in everything they do.
And that comes the reason why I hate him. You know, for now, everything in my life is in steady, and very much stable. I make good money, not much, but enough. I am happy with my situation, solving business problem with software engineering, learning to understand business domain, learning new .NET technology. Handling some annoying user but still tolerable. In the end, I have a dream to dwell deeper in IT Management by taking Master Degree in that fields. All change when I read his article “How to become a hacker”.
That damn article make me realize that there is more to life than that. In my college year, my dream is doing Open Source related jobs, a thing that I considered almost impossible to do in Indonesia, so I go for second best option: doing corporate software jobs in some IT Consultant in Jakarta. But, that article tell me that things doesn’t have to be that way.
Reading Cathedral and The Bazaar is truly mind opener for programmer like me. In my world, pretty much everything is proprietary. We use Windows 7 as OS, Office 2007 as business suite, SAP as ERP, Bizflow as BPM Application and so on. My heart is crying when seeing this kind of sight. I have nothing to hate about proprietary software, I just think that while big enterprise my client is doesn’t mind in paying its exorbitant price, this kind of things certainly will make Small and Medium Enterprise goes bankrupt fast. We certainly need better IT solution for them.
And you know the problem with enterprise software? They always reinvent the wheel. They have perfectly working applications written in VS2005, and then they want to upgrade it in VS 2008, with shiny little WPF, then all their apps gonna ported to this shiny little .NET 3.5 to using shiny little WCF, WPF or other things, and so on.
Now you see the problem with doing enterprise software?
That’s why it is kinda boring. Of course, sometimes we find interesting problem, but all I can do now is yet another CRUD application.
This boring situation is tempting. Sometimes I left all my coding discipline and write an unnecessarily complex function just so I’m not bored. And well, like all sin, they blow up in my face.
Eric S Raymong tempts me with this line in his article:
Being a hacker is lots of fun, but it’s a kind of fun that takes lots of effort. The effort takes motivation. Successful athletes get their motivation from a kind of physical delight in making their bodies perform, in pushing themselves past their own physical limits. Similarly, to be a hacker you have to get a basic thrill from solving problems, sharpening your skills, and exercising your intelligence.
Damn it, I want that! And his promise that:
To behave like a hacker, you have to believe that the thinking time of other hackers is precious — so much so that it’s almost a moral duty for you to share information, solve problems and then give the solutions away just so other hackers can solve new problems instead of having to perpetually re-address old ones.
There is a lot of problem to solve if you want to design an OS. How you handle thread? How you manage interface between software and hardware? How you use semaphore, etc. And you don’t have to solve that those CRUD software twice.
I want that Eric S Raymond, tell me what to do to be a hacker…