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…


About dnial

You don't see anything You don't hear anything You don't know anything Move along and pretend nothing happen

Posted on 21 November, 2009, in life. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Komentar.

  1. I bumped into him (Craig Mundie of Microsoft) in an elevator. I looked at his badge and said, “ah, you work for Microsoft.” He looked back at me and said, “Oh ya, and what do you do?” And I thought it was some kind of tad dismissive, here is a guy in a suit looking at a scruffy hacker… so I gave him a thousand yard stare and said, “I am your worst nightmare!”

    Eric S. Raymond, Revolution OS (2001)

  2. IMO the problem is not open source vs proprietary; it’s rather that in industrious, corporate culture as programmer we don’t -can’t- utilize whatever our mind wants to do.

    I said once; what’s so good about working in corporate? the best you can get is you are building an IS. that simple, businessable code. you want to do thread management in OS or image processing? you won’t get bored, but it’s not there in business.

    then again not necessarily you can’t use non-proprietary in business. LAMP is to mention one, but if you go to business you end up tailoring code — a simple one, not really challenging, and it’s all business, and as we know nothing really challenges a programmer when they go to corporate.

    except probably Google. I see they do challenging projects like Chromium (whose approach more to research btw). or Microsoft for developing Interops or GPU optimizations on Windows 8 or other not really so-so matters.

    still you can always work on open source projects, but you are not paid for what you build. not that I detest; giving to community is something I’d agree with, but then again we might not have that much of time for that.

  3. You can monetize Open Source, though. As Apache, Mozilla, IBM, Sun and RedHat shown. I believe Open Source can fit in Business Software. By using Open Source we can modified existing software to suit specific business need of company, and some of the change can get transferred back to community, so next poor soul that have to solve that accounting problem won’t have to do it again.

    But doing Open Source is not the only path. There is a lot of open problem in new field of Data Mining, Knowledge Management, Natural Language Processing, etc. Maybe path of PhD, like lambrtz is more suitable.

    Eniwei, there is some business problem that interesting to solve, like forecasting, data mining, and knowledge representation. Try that… 😀

  4. Thanks for your article by the way If you want to consider ERP system. Free Learning SAP R/3 in a step-by-step online and we provide SAP document and ABAP/4 training online everything we provide free for you. visit saptraineronline.com

  5. Saya baru sadar kalo saya digosipkan di sini. 😆

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