A friend sent me a link the other day about a pod of dolphins which was callously slaughtered. It upsets me because I give a shit, what gives us the right to treat another living creature this way? It upsets me more that there are millions if not billions of people on the planet who don’t give a shit.
Now to lay my cards on the table I eat meat, I couldn’t kill to get meat but when it’s shrink wrapped bearing no resemblance from whence it came then I do not think about it. This is a very incorrect behaviour and not an attitude I would apply to other elements of my life. I have the realisation I need to change and like my code I plan to refactor my life.
Actually this code related metaphor nicely segues me to the main point I want to make.
We are developers
We are developers, and as a community we are generally a caring socially aware bunch. Someone asked me the other day why do we help each other, is it purely altruistic? To be honest I struggled to answer, we just do.
Maybe it’s because we are in an employment market which has more demand than supply and therefore does not feel threat from competition? Maybe it’s because we want to save another human the pain and suffering we have experienced ourselves? Maybe we just want to show how clever we are?
I think it’s something different, I think as an industry we have never advanced faster than when we started openly sharing. The rise of open source is most probably the single most important thing in the industry today and the trend for large corporations to contribute to this is just mind blowing. We learned that by cooperating we had a better chance of survival and slowly (or very quickly in evolutionary terms) we have that embedded into our very nature.
Lets look back at that shrink wrapped meat analogy, would we accept shrink wrapped code? Well there is a possibility for us to do just that, package managers have the capability of abstracting a lot of our exposure to third party code, however we do have freedom of choice and access to enormous global resources. A good package is fully traceable, we check for unit tests, we look at how actively the project is developed, we examine the open issues to determine if this is safe to use. When we do find a problem we actively go out of our way to fix it.
Food for thought
We seldom seem to have this desire to do this with food, it is the very essence we need to survive yet we accept what we are given, without question, without care. We are not concerned about the traceability, we think not about any suffering that may have occurred during production. What about big business? We ignore greed and exploitation, we celebrate successes take pride in our national industry but the riches of these products invariably end up in the hands of those who do not need them.
What if developers ran the world?
So what if developers ran the world, I would like to think it would be a far better place, we would celebrate hard work and innovation, gladly share our experiences for the better of others not protect them for corporate gain. Everything would be traceable and we would look at quality as the primary value. It’s a culture that is transgender, one which does not care about race, religion, border or boundaries. In my humble opinion it’s the greatest industry alive today and one which I am very proud to be part of.