Closed-source considered harmful

Kragen Sitaker kragen at
Thu Jan 10 05:33:46 CET 2002

Cliff Wells <logiplexsoftware at> writes:
> On Wed, 9 Jan 2002 23:48:52 +0100
> "Karl M. Syring" <syring at> wrote:
> > > Computer science: the boring art of coping with a large number of
> > > trivialities.
> > 
> > Of course, this is only true if you work on some kind of accounting
> > package.
> Or writing GUI code.

Or if you use Emacs, or write programs on Win32, or write programs to
the POSIX API, or write JavaScript in a browser, or write HTML, or
write C++, or use Common Lisp, or study algorithm design, or work on
databases, or administer systems, or set up networks, or find security
holes, or fix security holes, or hack compilers, or convert data from
one format to another, or use Microsoft Word, or use Microsoft Excel,
or do almost anything else at all involving a computer, especially
things that involve programming them.

Or if you dissect animals, or if you sequence genes, or if you react
chemicals, or if you design bridges, or if you bottle bubblebath, or
if you stuff tacos at Taco Bell.

I'm good at dealing with a large number of boring trivialities without
becoming bored.  It has taken me some time to become aware of the
above definition, but I agree with it wholeheartedly.  Except that I
think the "boring" is in the wrong place --- the trivialities being
boring don't make the art boring --- and I think it's true for many
disciplines besides computer programming.

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