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$ Control language. Control the truth. - George Orwell, maybe

by anon | 2018-07-11

anon> I’m sure this COC stuff has cultural implications, but what I
anon> really want to know is who stands to make money from a major shift
anon> in foss culture.
anon> Who sees the long game of changing the way the world writes
anon> communal code and who wants to control that, and why we have these
anon> providers now, these big brains. microsoft, amazon, disney, etc
anon> They are buying up all the machines, are they now trying to soak
anon> up all the languages? the culture?
anon> Control it all? the machines, the code, the people that write the
anon> code, the whole tree.

This is a pretty interesting idea applied to programming languages and communities. There are two layers, creating and promoting a language restricts the system and programs that can be built. This is one type of control. A company could promote a language that only works on their operating system, or only has a compiler available for a certain architecture. This would further solidify the position of that operating system or architecture.

This is less of a concern though. Developers tend to compare tools and choose the most flexible. If you build a restrictive language, it will die out in favor of a more flexible one. The second layer of this idea are development communitites.

Development is an incredibly isolating and rewarding activity. It is a task where individuals thrive, as working alone allows rapid iteration. There is no meeting about changing the message passing layer from packed binary to JSON when you work alone. There is no burning time dividing up and assigning tasks. As such a solitary activity, many people who succeed in it are eccentric. Those that were more drawn, over other pursuits, to the composition of software have built amazing projects and now are running massive open source projects.

However, these individuals, who were viewed as loners when they built the code, are still very much not accepted by society. It has become mainstream to be ‘lol xD so socially awkward’. The normies think of themselves as alternative, and they still shun those who are alternative. The girl who compulsively shouts curse words is not embraced. No one strikes up a conversation with the guy who doesn’t make eye contact or shower. However, these individuals can still write amazing code. These people write open code, and free code threatens the power structures put in place by corporations.

Who do the corporations promote? Those who do not exercise compassion and empathy toward these people. Those that latch onto social missteps to crucify. Those that politicize code rather than those who write code. Every issue opened about the gender of a pronoun in a readme. Every thread on the usage of the word ‘master’. This is time spent talking and not time spent building. This is a conspiracy, absolutely. There is no smoking gun from Microsoft or Google saying, let’s gut these communities by politicizing them. However, that is what is happening. It is the equivalent of burying the startup in a lawsuit. Get them to stop focusing on their project.

Don’t mistake this as an anti-diversity statement. The population of developers is not representative of the population. This needs to be fixed. There are great developers to be found in every race, there are loners and autists in every gender who will excel at writing code. However, making the programmer in the text book a black female isn’t going to get the kid, who lives in the neighborhood you’re afraid of stepping foot in btw, it isn’t going to get that kid writing code. It is for this reason I don’t give a shit about your code of conduct. Not because I’m a nazi, but because every second I spend reading it, arguing about it (or even writing this trash post) is a second I’m not writing beautiful code.

another anon on irc