Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

RE: [hackers-il] Mission Statement for a New Company based on Voluntarism-taken-to-Extreme

Expand Messages
  • Nir Simionovich
    Hi Shlomi, I m really sorry you got fired, it was kind a nice seeing at the Black Steer from time to time. But, I couldn t help but read something you wrote on
    Message 1 of 18 , Apr 2 7:42 AM
    • 0 Attachment
      Hi Shlomi,

      I'm really sorry you got fired, it was kind'a nice seeing at the Black
      Steer from time to time.

      But, I couldn't help but read something you wrote on your blog: "My main
      problem (and the reason I got fired) was that they were relatively clueless
      as far as software management was concerned". Please tell us that you don't
      really believe what you just said, as, I'm very sorry to say, that according
      to your motto, we should all stand up and leave our current work places.

      Dude, it's a job, nothing more, nothing less. If you happen to be
      fortunate and enjoy your job, be happy with that. When you try to impose
      your own set of values and paradigms on a system, who usually isn't ready to
      accept your values/paradigms, the result is: YOU GET FIRED!

      For example, in my previous work place, I was working with a very well
      known open source figure. At some point, we hired another well known open
      source figure, which simply didn't fit the job profile. He was a genius when
      examining the code and the work, but the values and paradigms were
      incompatible.

      My advice to you is this: next time when you get into a new work place,
      try not to stick out like a soar thumb from day one. Blend in, let time take
      its course, and make your voice heard once you've established your status.
      I'm confident you will see that your employment period will be longer than
      the previous one. If you get to a company that is positive to open source,
      and is willing to let you work on OSS as part of your work, consider
      yourself the luckiest man on earth, and stick to that job for as long as you
      can (or as long as you are happy with it).

      Nir S

      -----Original Message-----
      From: hackers-il@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hackers-il@yahoogroups.com] On
      Behalf Of guy keren
      Sent: Monday, April 02, 2007 3:40 PM
      To: hackers-il@yahoogroups.com
      Cc: Perl in Israel
      Subject: Re: [hackers-il] Mission Statement for a New Company based on
      Voluntarism-taken-to-Extreme


      Shlomi,

      i'm sorry that you got fired.

      however, i think you should do some introspection about why you unable
      to find a steady work place for such a long time - you're burning
      yourself out in the market place.

      coming up with ideas about utopian companies, without even thinking how
      they'll earn money, can help you release steam. it will not help you
      earn a living.

      unlike with the open-source world, where time is not a factor, and it's
      ok if several people do the same thing again and again until they get
      something working properly, and having 10 different projects doing the
      same thing, until one or two emerge as the most useful, and the others
      ar thrown into a niche (or die gracefully) - i don't see many people
      willing to put their money into such initiatives - because they can't
      see how they are ever going to get it back with a nice profit. if you
      don't have a clear plan - it's safer to invest your money in bond
      stocks, in the stock market, etc.

      so i would suggest you started thinking why you keep losing jobs
      (quiting early is not better then being fired). and try to work on
      changing that.

      --guy

      Shlomi Fish wrote:
      > Hi all!
      >
      > I wrote this mission statement as a way to put some of my thoughts on
      paper.
      > It's just an idea, and I'm not sure how practical it is, but it is still
      > interesting.
      >
      > Comments are welcome.
      >
      > Regards,
      >
      > Shlomi Fish
      >
      > I recently got fired from my workplace:
      >
      > http://shlomif.livejournal.com/39976.html
      >
      > That has made me thinking: why can't there be a perfect workplace in
      Israel?
      > Here's how I define perfect:
      >
      > 1. Integrates the best of http://www.joelonsoftware.com/ ,
      > http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/ ,
      > http://www.extremeprogramming.org/ ,
      > http://www.paulgraham.com/ , etc.
      >
      > 2. Google lets its employees work for 20% on the time on their projects of
      > choice. We will demand employees to work on our own projects only 20% of
      > the time, and we will not require them to assign copyrights for what they
      do,
      > including not at work time.
      >
      > Why? For several reasons:
      >
      > 2.1. If someone has to work 80% of the time, he'll feel frustrated and
      > only works 20% of the time. If, OTOH, he has to work 20% of the time,
      > he'll work more than that.
      >
      > 2.2. Because what employees do on their free days may prove of
      interest
      > to us.
      >
      > 2.3. Because we're not possessive about our "intellectual property".
      We're
      > fully open source (see below).
      >
      > 3. We will work on open source software exclusively. Not just GPL - but
      also
      > ,and often preferably, LGPL or MIT X11. The less other people and
      companies
      > ask
      > us for permission to use our software - the better.
      >
      > 4. We will encourage our workers to "blog": write essays, maintain a
      weblog,
      > edit wikis, maintain public web sites, publish articles in online and
      offline
      > publications, etc. We will have a "planet" for the company.
      >
      > 5. We will allow free choice of language.
      >
      > 6. Everyone can become a member of the company simply by adding himself to

      > the wiki. He or she will not get paid immediately, but they still can
      consider
      > themselves part of the company.
      >
      > ------------------------------------
      >
      > Now what we will work on? Will there ever be a lack of good ideas?
      >
      > 1. Refactoring MediaWiki - MW is great but its source code is lacking and
      > could use a lot of polishing. I've talked with someone who wants to
      > re-implement it, but based on the wisdom of the patriarchs Joel and Eric,
      I'd
      > like to try to refactor it first.
      >
      > 2. Writing a web-based email that does not suck - I'm sorry, but KMail
      still
      > gives a much better E-mail experience than gmail, and makes the people you
      > correspond with, who are using a superior email client, much less angry.
      >
      > I suppose we can take a popular web-based email client and improve it to
      > perfection (as we cannot do the same with gmail)
      >
      > 3. Winapt - http://winapt.berlios.de/
      >
      > 4. rindolf - a perl 5 compiler written in perl 5 that will make perl 5 on
      > Parrot and other VMs, both C-hosting and perl-hosting.
      >
      > ---------------------
      >
      > These are just a few examples - there are many more. But the point is that
      > I believe such a company will not only be very popular, but can in fact be
      > profitable. Paul Graham and ESR have rambled a lot about how people who
      are
      > left to do what they want to do, rather than what they feel they are
      obliged
      > to do, produce superior results to those who don't. Such a company can be
      a
      > very powerful force, even in comparison to Google. And most importantly it
      > will be a great employer to work for.
      >
      > My problem is that while being a competent programmer and a philosopher
      (or
      > essayist or blogger as they are now called), I'm not sure I'm cut to do
      > management. I need someone who'll manage me. Then I'll need to find
      funding.
      > This way I and others can get paid for doing the things they like to do on
      > their free time, and the company can actually make a profit.
      >
      > I suppose that once someone has signed a contract, we can tell him to give
      > us a percentage of all the consultancy/contracting he's been doing. Or we
      can
      > give consulting, contracting and support for projects that we have a lot
      > of experience with. Alternatively, we can have a completely different
      business
      > model.
      >
      > Regards,
      >
      > Shlomi Fish
      >
      > ---------------------------------------------------------------------
      > Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
      > Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/
      >
      > If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
      > one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
      > -- An Israeli Linuxer
      >
      >
      >
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >




      Yahoo! Groups Links
    • Shlomi Fish
      Hi guy! ... Thanks for the support! ... guy, your last two messages to me were top-posting preaching: 1. The one about the Technion was a should have , saying
      Message 2 of 18 , Apr 3 2:58 AM
      • 0 Attachment
        Hi guy!

        On Monday 02 April 2007, guy keren wrote:
        > Shlomi,
        >
        > i'm sorry that you got fired.
        >

        Thanks for the support!

        > however, i think you should do some introspection about why you unable
        > to find a steady work place for such a long time - you're burning
        > yourself out in the market place.
        >

        guy, your last two messages to me were top-posting preaching:

        1. The one about the Technion was a "should have", saying that I should have
        studied CS. I founded it of value because I incorporated some of my reply to
        my essay, but it was still annoying.

        Yes, EE was more difficult for me than CS, but I don't regret taking it, and
        today with a B.Sc. in EE (cum laude, FWIW) in my hand, it is behind me, and I
        be glad it is behind me, and be proud that I did not give up.

        2. This one may be relevant, but is still very preachy, and I did not ask for
        it. Furthermore, you just tell me to think about it, and don't have any
        concrete suggestions.

        As you know, being a hacker and trying to live according to the Hacker's
        ethos, I have learned many technologies and also became interested in
        software management, software engineering, and the philosophy of hackerdom.
        Often I find that many workplaces, where the people in charge are much less
        knowledgable in many respects than I am, are doing things sub-optimally.

        I have a tendency to become hypo-manic, where hypo-mania is a type of clinical
        depression, in which the person is overly-excited. This often makes me much
        less focused and productive. Such states-of-mind are caused by a certain
        negative thought that is not handled correctly by the cognition. From my
        experience, such things are normally caused by work-related fears and
        problems.

        This has proven it hard for me to work as well. This time around I was OK for
        a long time (over two months), but then became hypo-manic. It took me some
        time to relax, but after I went to work, much more relaxed and determined to
        finish my task, I was informed that I was going to be fired.

        -----------------------------

        Where was I? Yes: I don't like very much being preached at much especially
        with not-so-constructive criticism like "you should figure something out"
        (how?) or "you should have done X instead of Y" (when it's impossible to do
        it again). My primary intention in the last two threads here was to start a
        philosophical discussion.

        Regards,

        Shlomi Fish

        > coming up with ideas about utopian companies, without even thinking how
        > they'll earn money, can help you release steam. it will not help you
        > earn a living.
        >
        > unlike with the open-source world, where time is not a factor, and it's
        > ok if several people do the same thing again and again until they get
        > something working properly, and having 10 different projects doing the
        > same thing, until one or two emerge as the most useful, and the others
        > ar thrown into a niche (or die gracefully) - i don't see many people
        > willing to put their money into such initiatives - because they can't
        > see how they are ever going to get it back with a nice profit. if you
        > don't have a clear plan - it's safer to invest your money in bond
        > stocks, in the stock market, etc.
        >
        > so i would suggest you started thinking why you keep losing jobs
        > (quiting early is not better then being fired). and try to work on
        > changing that.
        >
        > --guy
        >
        > Shlomi Fish wrote:
        > > Hi all!
        > >
        > > I wrote this mission statement as a way to put some of my thoughts on
        > > paper. It's just an idea, and I'm not sure how practical it is, but it is
        > > still interesting.
        > >
        > > Comments are welcome.
        > >
        > > Regards,
        > >
        > > Shlomi Fish
        > >
        > > I recently got fired from my workplace:
        > >
        > > http://shlomif.livejournal.com/39976.html
        > >
        > > That has made me thinking: why can't there be a perfect workplace in
        > > Israel? Here's how I define perfect:
        > >
        > > 1. Integrates the best of http://www.joelonsoftware.com/ ,
        > > http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/ ,
        > > http://www.extremeprogramming.org/ ,
        > > http://www.paulgraham.com/ , etc.
        > >
        > > 2. Google lets its employees work for 20% on the time on their projects
        > > of choice. We will demand employees to work on our own projects only 20%
        > > of the time, and we will not require them to assign copyrights for what
        > > they do, including not at work time.
        > >
        > > Why? For several reasons:
        > >
        > > 2.1. If someone has to work 80% of the time, he'll feel frustrated
        > > and only works 20% of the time. If, OTOH, he has to work 20% of the time,
        > > he'll work more than that.
        > >
        > > 2.2. Because what employees do on their free days may prove of
        > > interest to us.
        > >
        > > 2.3. Because we're not possessive about our "intellectual property".
        > > We're fully open source (see below).
        > >
        > > 3. We will work on open source software exclusively. Not just GPL - but
        > > also ,and often preferably, LGPL or MIT X11. The less other people and
        > > companies ask
        > > us for permission to use our software - the better.
        > >
        > > 4. We will encourage our workers to "blog": write essays, maintain a
        > > weblog, edit wikis, maintain public web sites, publish articles in online
        > > and offline publications, etc. We will have a "planet" for the company.
        > >
        > > 5. We will allow free choice of language.
        > >
        > > 6. Everyone can become a member of the company simply by adding himself
        > > to the wiki. He or she will not get paid immediately, but they still can
        > > consider themselves part of the company.
        > >
        > > ------------------------------------
        > >
        > > Now what we will work on? Will there ever be a lack of good ideas?
        > >
        > > 1. Refactoring MediaWiki - MW is great but its source code is lacking and
        > > could use a lot of polishing. I've talked with someone who wants to
        > > re-implement it, but based on the wisdom of the patriarchs Joel and Eric,
        > > I'd like to try to refactor it first.
        > >
        > > 2. Writing a web-based email that does not suck - I'm sorry, but KMail
        > > still gives a much better E-mail experience than gmail, and makes the
        > > people you correspond with, who are using a superior email client, much
        > > less angry.
        > >
        > > I suppose we can take a popular web-based email client and improve it to
        > > perfection (as we cannot do the same with gmail)
        > >
        > > 3. Winapt - http://winapt.berlios.de/
        > >
        > > 4. rindolf - a perl 5 compiler written in perl 5 that will make perl 5 on
        > > Parrot and other VMs, both C-hosting and perl-hosting.
        > >
        > > ---------------------
        > >
        > > These are just a few examples - there are many more. But the point is
        > > that I believe such a company will not only be very popular, but can in
        > > fact be profitable. Paul Graham and ESR have rambled a lot about how
        > > people who are left to do what they want to do, rather than what they
        > > feel they are obliged to do, produce superior results to those who don't.
        > > Such a company can be a very powerful force, even in comparison to
        > > Google. And most importantly it will be a great employer to work for.
        > >
        > > My problem is that while being a competent programmer and a philosopher
        > > (or essayist or blogger as they are now called), I'm not sure I'm cut to
        > > do management. I need someone who'll manage me. Then I'll need to find
        > > funding. This way I and others can get paid for doing the things they
        > > like to do on their free time, and the company can actually make a
        > > profit.
        > >
        > > I suppose that once someone has signed a contract, we can tell him to
        > > give us a percentage of all the consultancy/contracting he's been doing.
        > > Or we can give consulting, contracting and support for projects that we
        > > have a lot of experience with. Alternatively, we can have a completely
        > > different business model.
        > >
        > > Regards,
        > >
        > > Shlomi Fish
        > >
        > > ---------------------------------------------------------------------
        > > Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
        > > Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/
        > >
        > > If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
        > > one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
        > > -- An Israeli Linuxer
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > Yahoo! Groups Links
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > _______________________________________________
        > Perl mailing list
        > Perl@...
        > http://perl.org.il/mailman/listinfo/perl



        --

        ---------------------------------------------------------------------
        Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
        Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

        If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
        one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
        -- An Israeli Linuxer
      • Shlomi Fish
        Hi Roman! DeCCing Perl-IL - please keep it this way. ... Hi Roman! If a contractor STFWes me, or even just visit my personal web-site (URL at the bottom of
        Message 3 of 18 , Apr 4 3:00 AM
        • 0 Attachment
          Hi Roman!

          DeCCing Perl-IL - please keep it this way.

          On Tuesday 03 April 2007, Roman M. Parparov wrote:
          > Hi,
          >
          > If a potential recruiter gets to read this message, and follows the link
          > to your livejournal entry,
          > and reads the lines "I gave my boss at the workplace this list, which
          > I'll hope he'll read as much
          > as possible from.", I'd guess Shlomi Fish would be disqualified as both
          > a candidate and a
          > contractor.
          >

          Hi Roman!

          If a contractor STFWes me, or even just visit my personal web-site (URL at the
          bottom of every message I write) he'll find much more things due to which to
          reject me:

          1. http://www.shlomifish.org/humour/TheEnemy/ - offensive to many Arabs,
          left-wingers, anti-Libertarians, pro-Israelis, etc.

          2. http://www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/israel-pales/ - offensive to
          right-winged Israelis, and practicall every "humanitarian" people.

          3. http://www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/case-for-file-swapping/ - offensive to
          all "IP-Nazis" and ultra-right-winged people.

          4. http://www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/the-eternal-jew/ - incredibly
          blasphemous - practically every Theist will be offended.

          And there are more. I'm not optimising to make myself look good to potential
          employers or commisioners. Instead, I'm trying to be the best possible man I
          can be. And that means being the best possible philosopher[1]. And that means
          speaking your mind. If I claim that Kant was a brilliant applied logician and
          history's greatest practical joker, many philosophy professors will think I'm
          talking non-sense. But I can prove that most of what he said was wrong, and
          given his false reasoning show the problems with it. (And no, I haven't read
          Kant yet - I was told it's incredibly inaccessible).

          I believe in speaking my mind regardless of what the majority may think. At
          ancient times people believed the Sun revolved around the Earth. If we still
          believed that today, then we wouldn't have landed on the moon. Similarly,
          many or even most people believe that illegal narcotics should be illegal.
          This is also wrong, and I can prove it.

          Like I said, many people will hate me for what I said. But the most
          enlightened people (regardless of their many opinions) will find value in me
          speaking my mind so fearlessly[2]. I actually got some jobs because of my
          site, and there are some things I care about more than having a job.
          Hopefully, I will eventually become independent by becoming an
          essayist/blogger and a FOSS developer and consultant. This will enable me to
          get money for doing the things I'd like to do in my free time.[3]

          What I meant by referring my boss to that, was that after I was fired I told
          him I believe he has yet a lot to learn as far as software management is
          concerned. **After** I was fired. So I was giving him a good advice.

          It is possible many workplaces believe they are run in the best way possible,
          and that employees should just shut up, be micro-managed and do as they told
          and nothing more. However, there's no way I'd like working there, even if
          they paid me a lot of money. And I believe clueful people who are looking for
          consultants will be impressed that I'm familiar with "Joel on Software", Paul
          Graham, ESR, etc. and may actually prefer me over someone else.

          These are the companies I will most probably like to work for. They are much
          fewer than dysfunctional companies, but that's where hackers like to work.
          And for the record, I believe the company that fired me was as a general rule
          such a place.

          Regards,

          Shlomi Fish

          [1] - or essayist. Or now some bloggers are like that.

          [2] - Although I admit that I find the thought of being witch-hunted for what
          I said not frightening, but rather exciting. People who feel fear and then do
          what they do anyway, are much more courageous than me, who is just a crazy
          romanticist.

          [3] - And no, I don't think it will mean I'll be a leach on society. Some
          philosophers have produced more than they consumed, and obviously that's the
          case for the FOSS developers of many important projects.

          > R.
          > _______________________________________________
          > Perl mailing list
          > Perl@...
          > http://perl.org.il/mailman/listinfo/perl



          --

          ---------------------------------------------------------------------
          Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
          Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

          If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
          one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
          -- An Israeli Linuxer
        • Shlomi Fish
          Hi Nir! No longer CCing Perl-IL where it isn t tolerated very much. I believe discussions about the startup idea are, but not such Why I got fired ones. ...
          Message 4 of 18 , Apr 4 9:42 PM
          • 0 Attachment
            Hi Nir!

            No longer CCing Perl-IL where it isn't tolerated very much. I believe
            discussions about the startup idea are, but not such "Why I got fired" ones.

            On Tuesday 03 April 2007, Nir Simionovich wrote:
            > Hi Shlomi,
            >
            > I'm really sorry you got fired, it was kind'a nice seeing at the Black
            > Steer from time to time.
            >
            > But, I couldn't help but read something you wrote on your blog: "My main
            > problem (and the reason I got fired) was that they were relatively clueless
            > as far as software management was concerned". Please tell us that you don't
            > really believe what you just said, as, I'm very sorry to say, that
            > according to your motto, we should all stand up and leave our current work
            > places.
            >
            > My advice to you is this: next time when you get into a new work place,
            > try not to stick out like a soar thumb from day one. Blend in, let time
            > take its course,
            > Nir S
            >

            You're right, of course. However, this time I feel the problem was with them,
            and let me explain.

            My experience in this company has been very positive. They were very
            professional: had a great technology, had professional, friendly, good and
            productive people, the environment was nice, the location was OK, we got some
            perks like a kitchen with many snacks, and lots of informal meetings to
            celebrate birthdays, etc.

            I blended in relatively well for over 2 months, in which I had no depression.
            I expected my job to be a kernel hacker hacking on Linux/BSD/etc. kernel
            code, but as it turned out most of what I did was getting things to compile
            and work, especially on VMware ESX which gave us a lot of trouble. We sold
            high-end equipment (10Gbps cards) and we practically dealt with every
            customer specifically, which I suppose was the right thing to do in our
            position.

            However, from my knowledge and experience in software management, I detected a
            few problems:

            1. We didn't use the best tools and equipment money can buy. I had only one
            VMware ESX computer, which had to be rebooted and re-installed often. At my
            first day at work, I was given an old computer with a small hard-disk
            (20-40GB) and a CD-ROM (Not DVD-ROM or CD-RW or DVD-RW - CD-ROM!) drive. At
            one point we ran out of space on the only hard-disk of our development
            machine, which was 40 GB and the only hard-disks the lab bought were a
            whopping 80 GB disks.

            While I believe in equipment re-use and re-cycling, I think developers who
            don't want to be delayed by such problems, need a bit more than that.

            2. I was sometimes "caught" playing Sokoban or PySol, and was notified to
            stop. Now, they had a policy of allowing the workers to surf the Internet
            indefinitely, but did not like them playing games. Now, I'm not a game
            addict, and frankly I play games to put my mind back into focus, not to waste
            time. (There's a limit to how much I can play puzzle games.)

            I think they were worried that developers who play games made a bad
            impression. But to quote Feynman "What do you care what other people think?".
            Some people work. Some people pretend that they are working. These two are
            orthogonal. Sometimes playing games is good for one's productivity. If you
            have a good programmer who you know has an average ("DC") productivity, you'd
            better leave him alone and let him be.

            3. There are other things I detected which I won't detail here.

            ------------------

            I didn't comment on any of these things. I didn't tell him how to do things
            differently. While trying to be as "Rosh Gadol" as possible as far as the
            technical side of my work was concerned (given the limitations of it being
            completely new to me, and not fluent in it). However, I simply let them be as
            far as managing the company was concerned. Perhaps sometimes I quotes a
            software management guru for support to what I wanted to do, but not often.
            Often, I just made sure I can work the way I like despite limitations.

            I was productive and achieved a lot of things. My supervisor, my co-workers
            and my boss were as a general rule happy with me. So why did I get fired? I
            was assigned a task to write a disassembler of sorts to our own internal
            processor. I first thought I can do it in Perl, but later was instructed to
            do it in C, so it will be capable of being in the drivers. At first I wanted
            to do it quick-and-dirty, but my supervisor then wanted me to do it using a
            dispatch table.

            All of this delayed me.

            Once I started writing the code, I decided to use Perl to generate at least
            some of it, make and the GNU tool chain to build it on my local machine,
            Python and ctypes to test it (with some unit tests for the Perl code in
            Perl), and Test::Run ( http://web-cpan.berlios.de/modules/Test-Run/ ) to run
            the tests and summarise everything (in colour - ;-)). I know it sounds like
            an insane configuration, but it worked pretty well.

            Obviously writing C code, even by generating it using Perl takes some time. My
            boss (who's a brilliant Electrical Engineer) expected me to finish it in a
            day or two, but then I told him that there was no way I could do it. Perhaps
            it was my problem that I didn't tell them that one mother cannot deliver a
            baby in one month. Perhaps I should have been more "Rosh Gadol" and told him
            that it will take some time. Perhaps I should have asked him how urgently
            they needed it.

            However, I believe this was a human mistake. It was not my first mistake
            there, but possibly the biggest one. ( My father, who is a bio-technological
            manager, once said 90% of his decisions were mistakes. ) However, I've always
            done mistakes, and while trying to learn from the mistakes of mine and
            others, will probably always do mistakes. Even the largest and most
            successful companies have done many mistakes, and I don't claim to be
            anywhere near a good or experienced a manager enough to run such one. If I'm
            ever going to be.

            Perhaps they noticed a general trend of me being not independent enough and
            too dependent on my supervisor and other workers. (Or so I've interpreted
            it.). That was true, but it was because I still had too little experience
            with it, and had to pick the brain of someone with more. [1]

            {{{{{{{{{{{{{{
            [1] - The reason workplaces want experience is not because people with
            experience write better code, but because they know how to deal with problems
            easier. For example, once someone on Freenode's #perl asked us why he gets
            a "syntax error at line X" when the line was fine. Without looking at the
            code, I told him that he was missing a semi-colon on the previous (code)
            line. This indeed turned out to be the case.

            I learned it by experiencing with Perl a lot. On a different time someone
            asked why her script won't run when the sha-bang (#!/usr/bin/perl) is fine. I
            told her I believe the she had a trailing carriage-return (CR or \r or
            whatever) at this line and should remove it. It also turned out to be the
            case, as the file originated from Windows. This I learned from hanging on
            #perl, helping many people.
            }}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

            As I could tell, my boss was a brilliant developer, but had too little wisdom
            in managing people. Some people who become managers or team-leaders right
            after university become very good managers, while other people with a lot of
            experience in development and then management still suck at it. I'm not
            saying the latter ones can't improve, but it takes some attitude and
            determination to do so. (To quote Socrates - "I know that I do not know.").

            I hope I didn't defame my workplace here. Like I said, they are a great place
            to work, and they are good and friendly people and hopefully will improve.
            For the record, I spoke perfectly honestly and sincerily here, although it's
            just my side of the coin, and should be taken with a grain of salt. As you
            can see, I didn't mention the company's name, and ask you to avoid mentioning
            it here in semi-public.

            Regards,

            Shlomi Fish

            ---------------------------------------------------------------------
            Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
            Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

            If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
            one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
            -- An Israeli Linuxer
          • Nadav Har'El
            ... Just a thought: Maybe these issues are not as important as you think? Some of the most interesting small projects that I ever worked on didn t follow any
            Message 5 of 18 , Apr 12 12:40 AM
            • 0 Attachment
              On Mon, Apr 02, 2007, Shlomi Fish wrote about "[hackers-il] Mission Statement for a New Company based on Voluntarism-taken-to-Extreme":
              > That has made me thinking: why can't there be a perfect workplace in Israel?
              > Here's how I define perfect:
              >
              > 1. Integrates the best of http://www.joelonsoftware.com/ ,
              > http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/ ,
              > http://www.extremeprogramming.org/ ,
              > http://www.paulgraham.com/ , etc.

              Just a thought:

              Maybe these issues are not as important as you think?
              Some of the most interesting small projects that I ever worked on didn't
              follow any of these rules. What *is* bad, however, are employers that try
              to stuff their own (often stupid) software management techniques down your
              throat. I don't mind that my employer doesn't use a specific software
              management technique, but it does bother me when the technical team wishes
              to use some technique, and this wish is vetoed by the management (for legal
              reasons, legacy reasons, investment in some commercial software, etc.).

              I believe it is more important what you work on, and *why* you work on it.

              The "what" is obvious, but the "why" is also important: Are you working on
              something because you believe it's important (and perhaps even helped to
              invent), or because some clueless client or equally-clueless bossed "dropped"
              some stupid requirement on you? Are you working toward a long-term goal you
              can understand and believe in, or are you being "blown in the wind" (using
              the ship metaphore I used in previous post) each month doing whatever things
              your boss, clients, or whatever, wants you to do this month?

              For me, the perfect employer would have me working toward long-term goals I
              believe in.

              This is also why I like working on free software (and especially Hspell),
              which allows me to work in exactly this manner. Users' requirements are
              always in the background, but I'm free to choose my own priorities and own
              long-term goal, and stick to that goal (which in the Hspell case, has been
              more-or-less been done).

              > 3. We will work on open source software exclusively. Not just GPL - but also
              > ,and often preferably, LGPL or MIT X11. The less other people and companies
              > ask
              > us for permission to use our software - the better.

              Is this going to be a company producing software, a services company (like
              consulting, etc.), a company for which software is just a part of (e.g.,
              a hardware company, like TiVo), or what?

              From most of your description, it sounds like you're talking about a software
              company. If this is the case, I don't understand your business plan. How is
              this company to profit? What is it selling if everything it works on is open
              source?

              > 5. We will allow free choice of language.

              Programming language, or human language?
              What if one employee decides to talk in French and program in Fortran - how
              will anybody else understand him?
              Of course, there should be diversity (not the 100% Java environment I
              currently work in) but "free choice" is a little too strong.

              > 6. Everyone can become a member of the company simply by adding himself to
              > the wiki. He or she will not get paid immediately, but they still can consider
              > themselves part of the company.

              Ah?
              You lost me here. What does "being part of the company" mean, if you don't
              get paid?

              > These are just a few examples - there are many more. But the point is that
              > I believe such a company will not only be very popular, but can in fact be
              > profitable. Paul Graham and ESR have rambled a lot about how people who are
              > left to do what they want to do, rather than what they feel they are obliged
              > to do, produce superior results to those who don't. Such a company can be a
              > very powerful force, even in comparison to Google. And most importantly it
              > will be a great employer to work for.

              Free Software is an excellent proof of the superior results of the processes
              you describe. However, it doesn't provide much proof that you can profit from
              it by selling software (which it sounds like you're planning).
              We already have "Free Software", and people can "just add themselves to
              Free Software" at will and work on what they want. The only question is how
              your company fits into this puzzle.

              > I suppose that once someone has signed a contract, we can tell him to give
              > us a percentage of all the consultancy/contracting he's been doing. Or we can

              It sounds like you're describing now the "partnership" model we once discussed,
              of creating a free-software/consulting firm which works very similarly to how
              law firms currently work. This is indeed a good idea, and one which I'd like
              to see materialize. But it is very far from what you described above...


              --
              Nadav Har'El | Thursday, Apr 12 2007, 24 Nisan 5767
              nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
              Phone +972-523-790466, ICQ 13349191 |Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above
              http://nadav.harel.org.il |are not my own.
            • Tzahi Fadida
              Just a suggestion, for the most idealistic. Perhaps you should consider combining a PHD degree and an open source software/design. My degree was MSc, however,
              Message 6 of 18 , Apr 12 2:41 AM
              • 0 Attachment
                Just a suggestion, for the most idealistic.
                Perhaps you should consider combining a PHD degree and an open source
                software/design. My degree was MSc, however, the project itself was open
                sourced. I think this can be a good option for you since when you do PHD and
                later be an associate in some university you can control the works of other
                students (phd, msc, etc...). Look at big projects that come out of the
                universities: linux, mosix, etc... All very crucial and important.
                Granted, you can't get very rich, however, you are not getting there now
                either.

                On Monday 02 April 2007 15:10:54 Shlomi Fish wrote:

                --
                Regards,
                        Tzahi.
                --
                Tzahi Fadida
                Blog: http://tzahi.blogsite.org | Home Site: http://tzahi.webhop.info
                WARNING TO SPAMMERS:  see at
                http://members.lycos.co.uk/my2nis/spamwarning.html
              • Nadav Har'El
                ... This is all irrelevant. No right-winged employer can realistically expect all his employees to be right-winged (and vice versa), unless he s a total
                Message 7 of 18 , Apr 12 2:51 AM
                • 0 Attachment
                  On Wed, Apr 04, 2007, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Re: [Israel.pm] [hackers-il] Mission Statement for a New Company based on Voluntarism-taken-to-Extreme":
                  > If a contractor STFWes me, or even just visit my personal web-site (URL at the
                  > bottom of every message I write) he'll find much more things due to which to
                  > reject me:
                  >
                  > 1. http://www.shlomifish.org/humour/TheEnemy/ - offensive to many Arabs,
                  > left-wingers, anti-Libertarians, pro-Israelis, etc.
                  >
                  > 2. http://www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/israel-pales/ - offensive to
                  > right-winged Israelis, and practicall every "humanitarian" people.

                  This is all irrelevant. No right-winged employer can realistically expect
                  all his employees to be right-winged (and vice versa), unless he's a total
                  fanatic. No employer that I ever worked ever for cared about my political
                  position.

                  > 3. http://www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/case-for-file-swapping/ - offensive to
                  > all "IP-Nazis" and ultra-right-winged people.

                  Again, irrelevant, unless you try working for RIAA - which I know you wouldn't
                  want to anyway.

                  > And there are more. I'm not optimising to make myself look good to potential
                  > employers or commisioners. Instead, I'm trying to be the best possible man I
                  > can be. And that means being the best possible philosopher[1]. And that means
                  > speaking your mind.

                  The philosopher Peter Singer wrote a section (quoted in his "greatest hits"
                  book, "Writings on an Ethical Life") on why we should listen (on ethical
                  questions) to philosophers, rather than to the ramblings of any random
                  person, or a person from a different profession (e.g., a priest, doctor,
                  or in your case, a programmer ;-)).

                  One of the points he made was that it is professional philosophers who can
                  devote all their time to thinking about the issues being discussed (in his
                  case, ethics), and their opinions were formed after a lot of thinking, and
                  are (usually) not just something they wrote down after an afternoon of
                  basking in the sun. These philosophers have time not just to think, but also
                  to read other people's opinions, and more importantly (as he sees it) - to
                  check the facts.

                  So if you want to be the "best possible philosopher", you need to devote your
                  time to it. Have you considered getting a degree in philosophy? Perhaps
                  getting a job in philosophy (in the academia, writing books that will be
                  sold, etc.?) Or at least devoting all your free time to philosophy (and not
                  to other hobbies like programming)? Because if you don't, you can hardly become
                  the "best possible philosopher". All you can perhaps aspire to is to be
                  someone interested in philosophy (like I consider myself).

                  "Speaking your mind" doesn't make you a philosopher - it depends what you
                  say, and to whom. Speaking your mind when what you have to say is not well
                  thought out or stupid (and I'm not suggesting that what you say is like that!),
                  or when you speak out your mind to the wrong people, can make you a nudnik
                  or spammer, not a philosopher.

                  > If I claim that Kant was a brilliant applied logician and
                  > history's greatest practical joker, many philosophy professors will think I'm
                  > talking non-sense. But I can prove that most of what he said was wrong, and
                  > given his false reasoning show the problems with it. (And no, I haven't read
                  > Kant yet - I was told it's incredibly inaccessible).

                  Ah? How can you prove that somebody was wrong without reading what he read???

                  I'm not saying you should read Kant's original works - I also didn't - but
                  at least don't claim you can prove them wrong unless you did.

                  > I believe in speaking my mind regardless of what the majority may think. At
                  > ancient times people believed the Sun revolved around the Earth. If we still
                  > believed that today, then we wouldn't have landed on the moon. Similarly,
                  > many or even most people believe that illegal narcotics should be illegal.
                  > This is also wrong, and I can prove it.

                  Very well, speak your mind. I'm all for it. But like Comedians and DJs know,
                  and you should too, you need to know your crowd. Feel free to preach smoking
                  pot to your friends, but you wouldn't really want to do it to a group of angry
                  cops you see on the street, or to a group of school children for that matter.
                  Similarly, you can be 100% for free software, without preaching to your boss
                  all the time. When asked, always give the pro-free-software answer, but when
                  you're not asked, don't "preach". Your boss is paying you to do what he asked,
                  not to preach to him. And it goes both ways - you're working for him because
                  you want his money - not because you agree with everything he thinks.

                  > Hopefully, I will eventually become independent by becoming an
                  > essayist/blogger and a FOSS developer and consultant. This will enable me to
                  > get money for doing the things I'd like to do in my free time.[3]

                  Good luck (and I'm not saying this cynically).

                  > It is possible many workplaces believe they are run in the best way possible,
                  > and that employees should just shut up, be micro-managed and do as they told
                  > and nothing more. However, there's no way I'd like working there, even if
                  > they paid me a lot of money. And I believe clueful people who are looking for
                  > consultants will be impressed that I'm familiar with "Joel on Software", Paul
                  > Graham, ESR, etc. and may actually prefer me over someone else.

                  If you believe your job sucks, go out and look for a better one, but try to
                  hold on to the one you have in the meanwhile - both because I supposed that
                  you (like most us mortals) need the money to live, and because it's easier
                  to get a job while you already have one (employers are always suspicious of
                  people who got fired - it sounds like an anti-recommendation).


                  --
                  Nadav Har'El | Thursday, Apr 12 2007, 24 Nisan 5767
                  nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                  Phone +972-523-790466, ICQ 13349191 |Promises are like babies: fun to make,
                  http://nadav.harel.org.il |but hell to deliver.
                • Shlomi Fish
                  Hi Nadav! Thanks for your email. ... I heavily disagree with that claim and let me explain why. I don t devote all my time to thinking, or all my time to
                  Message 8 of 18 , Apr 12 3:57 AM
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Hi Nadav!

                    Thanks for your email.

                    On Thursday 12 April 2007, Nadav Har'El wrote:
                    > On Wed, Apr 04, 2007, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Re: [Israel.pm] [hackers-il]
                    Mission Statement for a New Company based on Voluntarism-taken-to-Extreme":
                    > > If a contractor STFWes me, or even just visit my personal web-site (URL
                    > > at the bottom of every message I write) he'll find much more things due
                    > > to which to reject me:
                    > >
                    > > 1. http://www.shlomifish.org/humour/TheEnemy/ - offensive to many Arabs,
                    > > left-wingers, anti-Libertarians, pro-Israelis, etc.
                    > >
                    > > 2. http://www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/israel-pales/ - offensive to
                    > > right-winged Israelis, and practicall every "humanitarian" people.
                    >
                    > This is all irrelevant. No right-winged employer can realistically expect
                    > all his employees to be right-winged (and vice versa), unless he's a total
                    > fanatic. No employer that I ever worked ever for cared about my political
                    > position.
                    >
                    > > 3. http://www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/case-for-file-swapping/ -
                    > > offensive to all "IP-Nazis" and ultra-right-winged people.
                    >
                    > Again, irrelevant, unless you try working for RIAA - which I know you
                    > wouldn't want to anyway.
                    >
                    > > And there are more. I'm not optimising to make myself look good to
                    > > potential employers or commisioners. Instead, I'm trying to be the best
                    > > possible man I can be. And that means being the best possible
                    > > philosopher[1]. And that means speaking your mind.
                    >
                    > The philosopher Peter Singer wrote a section (quoted in his "greatest hits"
                    > book, "Writings on an Ethical Life") on why we should listen (on ethical
                    > questions) to philosophers, rather than to the ramblings of any random
                    > person, or a person from a different profession (e.g., a priest, doctor,
                    > or in your case, a programmer ;-)).
                    >
                    > One of the points he made was that it is professional philosophers who can
                    > devote all their time to thinking about the issues being discussed (in his
                    > case, ethics), and their opinions were formed after a lot of thinking, and
                    > are (usually) not just something they wrote down after an afternoon of
                    > basking in the sun. These philosophers have time not just to think, but
                    > also to read other people's opinions, and more importantly (as he sees it)
                    > - to check the facts.
                    >

                    I heavily disagree with that claim and let me explain why. I don't devote all
                    my time to thinking, or all my time to programming, or all my time to writing
                    essays, or whatever. However, I believe that by being eclectic in what I do,
                    I can then reflect on something else I do, etc. By devising a good algorithm
                    or designing a program properly, I become a more intelligent man, and this
                    enables me to have better ideas for essays. Also, by writing essays and
                    perfecting them according to other people's input I become a better
                    programmer.

                    This is similar to the fact that learning a radically different and
                    enlightening programming language will make you a better programmer even in
                    the existing language.

                    Over-specialisation is very dangerous. According to:

                    http://www.neo-tech.com/zero/part5.html

                    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
                    A mathematician alone, no matter how brilliant he might be, could not be a
                    threat to a neocheater without the knowledge of other fields and the rest of
                    the world, and without the means of achieving financial independence --
                    without a business integration. So long as those who are bright remain
                    divided and "specialized", oblivious of the world, neocheaters are safe to
                    exercise their "power" and use those scholars for their own advantages. This
                    is what happened and what has been happening throughout the entire history of
                    man. Moreover, some of those scholars turned to mysticism or neocheating and
                    achieved political and/or religious prominence. The so-called
                    social "intellectuals" of today are the direct offspring of those
                    earlier "scholars turned neocheaters".

                    Research in the fields of biology and anthropology reveals that all the
                    species and tribes that became extinct did so because of
                    overspecialization.The current educational systems of the world, which
                    originated in the neocheating strategy of ancient political powers, emphasize
                    specialization, and thus endanger the continuation of the human species.
                    Until today, the least specialized field, the field that requires the widest
                    integration of knowledge, has been politics, where neocheaters, who have the
                    least regard for knowledge, gravitate the most. Ironically and tragically,
                    the fittest to survive in the mysticism-ridden world of inverted reality have
                    been the least capable of surviving in reality.
                    >>>>>>>>>>>>

                    That's why I believe a man of many talents (or a so-called "Renaissance Man")
                    is much better at everything he does than someone who focuses on one talent
                    alone. While only other people can proclaim I am Renaissance Man, I can
                    testify I am a man of many talents, and always try to write what I want.

                    By becoming a full time philosopher who does nothing in real-life but think
                    and write, I'll lose my edge. Philosophy and insights come from experience
                    and from getting your hands dirty. You need to learn in order to experiment,
                    and you need to experiment in order to teach.

                    As much as ivory tower philosophers are respected by the Academe, I have to
                    say I found more value in philosophers that are do'ers: Ayn Rand, Paul
                    Graham, Joel Spolsky, Eric S. Raymond, Frank R. Wallace (the Neo-Tech guy),
                    etc. Nowadays the real philosophers are essayists or often even just
                    bloggers. I often found a lot of value in a Slashdot comment by an obscure
                    user.

                    I call myself a philosopher, because I've reached many philosophical insights.
                    Every field has a philosophy attached to it. While you can write a lot of
                    code, without reflecting on what you write (using philosophy, logic, etc.)
                    you'll hardly be any efficient.

                    > So if you want to be the "best possible philosopher", you need to devote
                    > your time to it. Have you considered getting a degree in philosophy?
                    > Perhaps getting a job in philosophy (in the academia, writing books that
                    > will be sold, etc.?) Or at least devoting all your free time to philosophy
                    > (and not to other hobbies like programming)? Because if you don't, you can
                    > hardly become the "best possible philosopher". All you can perhaps aspire
                    > to is to be someone interested in philosophy (like I consider myself).
                    >

                    I could get a degree in philosophy. On the other hand, Ayn Rand "only" had a
                    B.A. in History, and Frank R. Wallace has a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemsitry. So
                    far it seems the non-technical degree that interests me the most is in
                    ancient history of the Near East.

                    However, I don't see why I cannot philosophise without having a degree in
                    Philsophy. Perhaps some idiot (= foolish) Philosophy Professors will me write
                    me off as unprofessional (just like I was told most of them wrote off Ayn
                    Rand), but I know better than to believe them.

                    So Nadav, I think you have been trolled. However, trolling you was not an
                    original intenion of mine.

                    > "Speaking your mind" doesn't make you a philosopher - it depends what you
                    > say, and to whom. Speaking your mind when what you have to say is not well
                    > thought out or stupid (and I'm not suggesting that what you say is like
                    > that!), or when you speak out your mind to the wrong people, can make you a
                    > nudnik or spammer, not a philosopher.
                    >

                    I agree that speaking my mind does not make you a philosopher. However,
                    a "spammer" is someone who sends unsolicited email to a very large amount of
                    people, not just posts a message on it to a small number of mailing lists or
                    web-boards. I may be regarded by some as a "nudniq", but I believe my essays
                    are of value, and I'm always getting input from them on my own mailing list
                    of reviewers (which I'll be glad to join anyone of you), and also ask people
                    to read it on the IRC.

                    And I think you're confusing my techniques of publicing my articles with what
                    I write in the articles themselves. I consider myself a philosopher because
                    I'm trying to practice that, and that's what I'm doing. Historically
                    philosophers had a great deal of training and professions. You don't need to
                    have a Ph.D. in Philosophy to be a philosopher just as it is well known that
                    some high school (or younger) students with one year of experience in
                    programming are more productive and write far better code than many people
                    with a Ph.D. in Computer Science, and 10 years of experience.

                    While education is important, your output is what matters, not what you've
                    earned.

                    > > If I claim that Kant was a brilliant applied logician and
                    > > history's greatest practical joker, many philosophy professors will think
                    > > I'm talking non-sense. But I can prove that most of what he said was
                    > > wrong, and given his false reasoning show the problems with it. (And no,
                    > > I haven't read Kant yet - I was told it's incredibly inaccessible).
                    >
                    > Ah? How can you prove that somebody was wrong without reading what he
                    > read???
                    >
                    > I'm not saying you should read Kant's original works - I also didn't - but
                    > at least don't claim you can prove them wrong unless you did.

                    I have read many of Kant's conclusions - from you or otherwise. And I can
                    prove them to be wrong based on Logic and more basic assumptions. According
                    to Neo-Tech, everything of importance can be deduced from the biological
                    nature of men and women (and possibly some other natural laws and facts) and
                    using Logic.

                    >
                    > > I believe in speaking my mind regardless of what the majority may think.
                    > > At ancient times people believed the Sun revolved around the Earth. If we
                    > > still believed that today, then we wouldn't have landed on the moon.
                    > > Similarly, many or even most people believe that illegal narcotics should
                    > > be illegal. This is also wrong, and I can prove it.
                    >
                    > Very well, speak your mind. I'm all for it. But like Comedians and DJs
                    > know, and you should too, you need to know your crowd. Feel free to preach
                    > smoking pot to your friends, but you wouldn't really want to do it to a
                    > group of angry cops you see on the street, or to a group of school children
                    > for that matter. Similarly, you can be 100% for free software, without
                    > preaching to your boss all the time. When asked, always give the
                    > pro-free-software answer, but when you're not asked, don't "preach". Your
                    > boss is paying you to do what he asked, not to preach to him. And it goes
                    > both ways - you're working for him because you want his money - not because
                    > you agree with everything he thinks.
                    >

                    I agree. In my case, I didn't preach them the Joel way or any other way until
                    after I got fired. And it was not a preach, it was a general recommendation.

                    Like I said, people can find a lot of dirt about me on the Internet by using a
                    search with "shlomif" or "shlomi fish" and some selected keywords. But I
                    don't care much because keeping a perfectly good image is much harder than
                    not, and most of the employers I'd love to work for wouldn't care too much
                    about what I said or did not say. That's because they know it would be
                    irrelevant to my job as a programmer.

                    > > Hopefully, I will eventually become independent by becoming an
                    > > essayist/blogger and a FOSS developer and consultant. This will enable me
                    > > to get money for doing the things I'd like to do in my free time.[3]
                    >
                    > Good luck (and I'm not saying this cynically).
                    >

                    Thanks!

                    > > It is possible many workplaces believe they are run in the best way
                    > > possible, and that employees should just shut up, be micro-managed and do
                    > > as they told and nothing more. However, there's no way I'd like working
                    > > there, even if they paid me a lot of money. And I believe clueful people
                    > > who are looking for consultants will be impressed that I'm familiar with
                    > > "Joel on Software", Paul Graham, ESR, etc. and may actually prefer me
                    > > over someone else.
                    >
                    > If you believe your job sucks, go out and look for a better one, but try to
                    > hold on to the one you have in the meanwhile - both because I supposed that
                    > you (like most us mortals) need the money to live, and because it's easier
                    > to get a job while you already have one (employers are always suspicious of
                    > people who got fired - it sounds like an anti-recommendation).

                    I actually liked my job, and in fact the news that I was fired quite
                    distressed me. So I was not looking for a different one at that point, but
                    rather trying to do my job in the best way possible.

                    Regards,

                    Shlomi Fish

                    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
                    Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                    Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

                    If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
                    one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
                    -- An Israeli Linuxer
                  • Shlomi Fish
                    Hi Nadav! ... All of these rules are not a panacea or a necessity. To quote Joel from http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000043.html :
                    Message 9 of 18 , Apr 12 5:31 AM
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Hi Nadav!

                      On Thursday 12 April 2007, Nadav Har'El wrote:
                      > On Mon, Apr 02, 2007, Shlomi Fish wrote about "[hackers-il] Mission
                      Statement for a New Company based on Voluntarism-taken-to-Extreme":
                      > > That has made me thinking: why can't there be a perfect workplace in
                      > > Israel? Here's how I define perfect:
                      > >
                      > > 1. Integrates the best of http://www.joelonsoftware.com/ ,
                      > > http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/ ,
                      > > http://www.extremeprogramming.org/ ,
                      > > http://www.paulgraham.com/ , etc.
                      >
                      > Just a thought:
                      >
                      > Maybe these issues are not as important as you think?
                      > Some of the most interesting small projects that I ever worked on didn't
                      > follow any of these rules.

                      All of these rules are not a panacea or a necessity. To quote Joel from
                      http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000043.html :

                      <<<<<<<<<<<<<<
                      Of course, these are not the only factors that determine success or failure:
                      in particular, if you have a great software team working on a product that
                      nobody wants, well, people aren't going to want it. And it's possible to
                      imagine a team of "gunslingers" that doesn't do any of this stuff that still
                      manages to produce incredible software that changes the world. But, all else
                      being equal, if you get these 12 things right, you'll have a disciplined team
                      that can consistently deliver.
                      >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

                      However, integrating them all will make your programmers happier, the employer
                      happier and everyone more effective.

                      > What *is* bad, however, are employers that try
                      > to stuff their own (often stupid) software management techniques down your
                      > throat. I don't mind that my employer doesn't use a specific software
                      > management technique, but it does bother me when the technical team wishes
                      > to use some technique, and this wish is vetoed by the management (for legal
                      > reasons, legacy reasons, investment in some commercial software, etc.).
                      >
                      > I believe it is more important what you work on, and *why* you work on it.
                      >
                      > The "what" is obvious, but the "why" is also important: Are you working on
                      > something because you believe it's important (and perhaps even helped to
                      > invent), or because some clueless client or equally-clueless bossed
                      > "dropped" some stupid requirement on you? Are you working toward a
                      > long-term goal you can understand and believe in, or are you being "blown
                      > in the wind" (using the ship metaphore I used in previous post) each month
                      > doing whatever things your boss, clients, or whatever, wants you to do this
                      > month?
                      >

                      Right.

                      > For me, the perfect employer would have me working toward long-term goals I
                      > believe in.
                      >
                      > This is also why I like working on free software (and especially Hspell),
                      > which allows me to work in exactly this manner. Users' requirements are
                      > always in the background, but I'm free to choose my own priorities and own
                      > long-term goal, and stick to that goal (which in the Hspell case, has been
                      > more-or-less been done).

                      In a previous workplace of mine I was instructed to translate a PHP+Flash 8
                      program from PHP to Perl. At first, I thought it was a legacy program, which
                      needed to be translated, and started working on it. Since I did not want to
                      fork the Flash 8 code, I decided to emulate the PHP behaviour in Perl. This
                      took a lot of work.

                      As it turned out all of it happened because our marketing department wanted
                      the application to be either "PHP, ASP or Perl" so people can easily deploy
                      it. But as you know, maintaining three differenet codebases in three
                      different languages does not scale, and always break.[1] My boss told me it
                      was equivalent to maintaining three different translations, but that's not
                      the case, as someone who worked with most translation tools now.

                      {{{{{{{{{{{{
                      [1] - XP says that you shouldn't also maintain a codebase and some external
                      documentation that describes it because the code will always grow out of date
                      with the documentation.
                      }}}}}}}}}}}}

                      This is one case, where the whims of marketing (who I think did not understand
                      the technology properly, and the fact that just having a PHP-only codebase
                      will give us most of the marketshare), caused the engineers to become
                      sub-optimal. I'm not claiming the engineers are always right, just that they
                      should be taken into the equation.

                      A good example of a case which almost completely ignores its engineers is the
                      present-day OS division of Microsoft. They are creating more and more complex
                      technologies in their operating system, which is growing into a bug-to-bug
                      backwards compatible mess that no one wants or is able to tweak. And even
                      Vista is still much inferior to the elegenance and power of some
                      high-quality, open-source, UNIX-based OSes. Vista came up with all of its
                      most-hyped features excluded early on.

                      >
                      > > 3. We will work on open source software exclusively. Not just GPL - but
                      > > also ,and often preferably, LGPL or MIT X11. The less other people and
                      > > companies ask
                      > > us for permission to use our software - the better.
                      >
                      > Is this going to be a company producing software, a services company (like
                      > consulting, etc.), a company for which software is just a part of (e.g.,
                      > a hardware company, like TiVo), or what?
                      >
                      > From most of your description, it sounds like you're talking about a
                      > software company. If this is the case, I don't understand your business
                      > plan. How is this company to profit? What is it selling if everything it
                      > works on is open source?
                      >

                      Well, first of all let me note that this idea is very theoretical and while I
                      think it is good, I won't recommend you to depend on it. Here are some
                      business models:

                      1. We'll create FOSS codebases for websites, (like a better webmail, or a
                      better freelancers board (see http://xrl.us/vqdj )) and then set up our own
                      sites based on them. Alternatively we can also hack on existing FOSS
                      frameworks (while contributing everything back to FOSS) and again set up our
                      own sites based on them.

                      2. We'll support our software. While the code will be perfectly usable, and
                      can even be used in a proprietary context, some people will want to consult
                      us on how to set it up, get it working, debug problems, etc. The code will be
                      free, but our time won't be.

                      3. I suppose that if someone is the company's paid employee, we can ask him to
                      give us a percentage of his fees for consulting, contracting, or commisions.

                      > > 5. We will allow free choice of language.
                      >
                      > Programming language, or human language?
                      > What if one employee decides to talk in French and program in Fortran - how
                      > will anybody else understand him?
                      > Of course, there should be diversity (not the 100% Java environment I
                      > currently work in) but "free choice" is a little too strong.
                      >

                      Programming language, of course. :-) All of our internal communication will be
                      in English, and a good control of English will be necessary to be employed.

                      I'm not sure I know what I have meant by "free choice of language". Maybe I
                      meant that we won't force someone to work with a language against his will or
                      because it's the most hyped language currently.

                      > > 6. Everyone can become a member of the company simply by adding himself
                      > > to the wiki. He or she will not get paid immediately, but they still can
                      > > consider themselves part of the company.
                      >
                      > Ah?
                      > You lost me here. What does "being part of the company" mean, if you don't
                      > get paid?

                      It means that you're part of the community. For example, I was active in the
                      Subversion #svn channel on Freenode (helping people with their problems,
                      etc.), read some of the mailing list, contributed patches, and wrote a few
                      advocacy articles, without getting paid. I no longer do, because Subversion
                      has been working for me very well for a long time, and I no longer feel my
                      help there is needed much. (While the GIMP is in much worse development
                      condition and can get all the help it can get[1].) But I was still part of
                      the community, even though I didn't get paid directly.

                      So in a sense you can work on this company's projects, or otherwise take part
                      in its discussions, without yet getting paid, or even without ever wanting to
                      getting paid.

                      {{{{
                      [1] - Just for the record, I believe GIMP could have been in a much better
                      shape nowadays if it had not been for the high tactlessness and apathy by
                      many of its core developers.
                      }}}}

                      >
                      > > These are just a few examples - there are many more. But the point is
                      > > that I believe such a company will not only be very popular, but can in
                      > > fact be profitable. Paul Graham and ESR have rambled a lot about how
                      > > people who are left to do what they want to do, rather than what they
                      > > feel they are obliged to do, produce superior results to those who don't.
                      > > Such a company can be a very powerful force, even in comparison to
                      > > Google. And most importantly it will be a great employer to work for.
                      >
                      > Free Software is an excellent proof of the superior results of the
                      > processes you describe. However, it doesn't provide much proof that you can
                      > profit from it by selling software (which it sounds like you're planning).

                      I didn't claim I was going to sell software. There are other ways to make
                      money off software than selling it.

                      > We already have "Free Software", and people can "just add themselves to
                      > Free Software" at will and work on what they want. The only question is how
                      > your company fits into this puzzle.

                      See above.

                      Regards,

                      Shlomi Fish

                      >
                      > > I suppose that once someone has signed a contract, we can tell him to
                      > > give us a percentage of all the consultancy/contracting he's been doing.
                      > > Or we can
                      >
                      > It sounds like you're describing now the "partnership" model we once
                      > discussed, of creating a free-software/consulting firm which works very
                      > similarly to how law firms currently work. This is indeed a good idea, and
                      > one which I'd like to see materialize. But it is very far from what you
                      > described above...

                      ---------------------------------------------------------------------
                      Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                      Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

                      If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
                      one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
                      -- An Israeli Linuxer
                    • Nadav Har'El
                      ... It is conceivable that some outside-world experience can give you a philosophical idea. For example, Richard Stallman s free software ideas (and
                      Message 10 of 18 , Apr 12 5:58 AM
                      • 0 Attachment
                        On Thu, Apr 12, 2007, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Re: [Israel.pm] [hackers-il] Mission Statement for a New Company based on Voluntarism-taken-to-Extreme":
                        > By becoming a full time philosopher who does nothing in real-life but think
                        > and write, I'll lose my edge. Philosophy and insights come from experience
                        > and from getting your hands dirty. You need to learn in order to experiment,
                        > and you need to experiment in order to teach.

                        It is conceivable that some "outside-world" experience can give you a
                        philosophical idea. For example, Richard Stallman's "free software" ideas
                        (and ideals) came after some real experience with a real printer. Many ideas
                        of Peter Singer (the philsopher I mentioned in a previous mail) probably
                        came from his experiences in a world eating meat and (ab)using animals.

                        However, once you have idea, it takes time and effort to make it into a
                        well-polished theory, book, or whatever. You can't do that if you don't devote
                        a lot of time to it. I'm not saying that you need to devote to it all your
                        time, or even most of your time - but if you spend 30 minutes a day "blogging",
                        I seriously doubt your ideas will have a strong impact on the world..
                        If Richard Stallman continued to work full-time on coding Emacs, he wouldn't
                        have had the effect he has today. Conversely, Linus who concentrated on "dirty"
                        code-writing hardly had any effect at all on free-software philosophy.

                        One problem with your "philosophy" posts (and I hope you don't take this as
                        an insult, I'm not trying to insult you) is that you do *not* do enough fact
                        checking or thinking on your theories. You raise ideas which have been
                        discussed by many philosophers in the past, but you never heard of them or
                        read their books (or books about them). You raise ideas on how to run a
                        country which doesn't go well with existing history as we know it. You raise
                        ideas on the perfect job, when your commulatative job experience is just a
                        few months, and you never talked to other people to hear about their job
                        experiences.
                        If you spent time on *research* - finding the facts, reading what other
                        philosophers said, listening to what other people think, and so on - that
                        will make you a better philosopher. If you can't do that because your time
                        is spent doing something else (be it programming or raising a kid), well,
                        that will never make you a better philosopher, unfortunately.

                        At least this is how I see it.

                        > While education is important, your output is what matters, not what you've
                        > earned.

                        This is 100% right. So if one day you'll write a brilliant philosophical
                        essay, I'd say, hats off for that auto-deduct renaisance-man. But until
                        then, I can still try to make suggestions ;-)

                        > I have read many of Kant's conclusions - from you or otherwise. And I can
                        > prove them to be wrong based on Logic and more basic assumptions. According
                        > to Neo-Tech, everything of importance can be deduced from the biological
                        > nature of men and women (and possibly some other natural laws and facts) and
                        > using Logic.

                        So basically, your argument is that since Neo-Tech is right, Kant must be
                        wrong. That would be a perfect proof, if only Neo-Tech was indeed right.
                        But how do you know it is? And what if neither of those two positions is
                        wrong, and Neo-Tech is only partially right, and Kant is also partially right?
                        And what does it mean to be "right" anyway? Philosophy isn't an exact science
                        like math or physics. You don't check a philosophical idea - which is a way
                        to look at the world - for correctness based on experiments; Nor can you
                        check them using just logic - because unlike mathematics, there is no fixed
                        set of "philosophical axioms" that everyone agrees with.

                        Just a small example, is it ethical to eat animals? Some say it is (like
                        probably Neo-Tech, since eating meat is in our biological design), some say
                        it isn't (like the aforementioned Peter Singer). There isn't a "right" answer.
                        The only thing that matters (to philosophers) is how you explain your answer,
                        and the assumptions you made during this explanation (the "axioms").
                        You can say "yes" with a good explanation, and you can say "no" with a good
                        explanation...

                        --
                        Nadav Har'El | Thursday, Apr 12 2007, 24 Nisan 5767
                        nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                        Phone +972-523-790466, ICQ 13349191 |Having a smoking section in a restaurant
                        http://nadav.harel.org.il |is like having a peeing section in a pool
                      • Shlomi Fish
                        Hi Nadav! Please don t take it the wrong way, but I think that following my refute of your claims, you have evaded them, and instead of saying that you stand
                        Message 11 of 18 , Apr 13 12:48 AM
                        • 0 Attachment
                          Hi Nadav!

                          Please don't take it the wrong way, but I think that following my refute of
                          your claims, you have evaded them, and instead of saying that you stand
                          corrected, you tried to amend them. But I'll reply to them just in case.

                          On Thursday 12 April 2007, Nadav Har'El wrote:
                          > On Thu, Apr 12, 2007, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Re: [Israel.pm] [hackers-il]
                          Mission Statement for a New Company based on Voluntarism-taken-to-Extreme":
                          > > By becoming a full time philosopher who does nothing in real-life but
                          > > think and write, I'll lose my edge. Philosophy and insights come from
                          > > experience and from getting your hands dirty. You need to learn in order
                          > > to experiment, and you need to experiment in order to teach.
                          >
                          > It is conceivable that some "outside-world" experience can give you a
                          > philosophical idea. For example, Richard Stallman's "free software" ideas
                          > (and ideals) came after some real experience with a real printer. Many
                          > ideas of Peter Singer (the philsopher I mentioned in a previous mail)
                          > probably came from his experiences in a world eating meat and (ab)using
                          > animals.
                          >
                          > However, once you have idea, it takes time and effort to make it into a
                          > well-polished theory, book, or whatever. You can't do that if you don't
                          > devote a lot of time to it. I'm not saying that you need to devote to it
                          > all your time, or even most of your time - but if you spend 30 minutes a
                          > day "blogging", I seriously doubt your ideas will have a strong impact on
                          > the world.. If Richard Stallman continued to work full-time on coding
                          > Emacs, he wouldn't have had the effect he has today.
                          > Conversely, Linus who
                          > concentrated on "dirty" code-writing hardly had any effect at all on
                          > free-software philosophy.
                          >

                          Are you kidding? Linus had a huge effect. A lot of what he says has been very
                          influential. He's often being quoted. He is a wonderful humourist and has
                          provided a lot of balance to free software by not holding the radical
                          opinions that RMS does. And he projected the project of writing the Linux
                          kernel which is currently the most advanced open-source kernel and the one
                          used by the most popular free software OS.

                          From reading Linus, I think he's both extremely intelligent and extremely
                          wise. RMS, OTOH is very idealistic, very stubborn and completely unable to
                          distiniguish between the two. I often found value in what RMS said, but I
                          believe I usually agree with what Linus or other people like Tim O'Reilly say
                          more.

                          > One problem with your "philosophy" posts (and I hope you don't take this as
                          > an insult, I'm not trying to insult you) is that you do *not* do enough
                          > fact checking or thinking on your theories.

                          That may be true.

                          > You raise ideas which have been
                          > discussed by many philosophers in the past, but you never heard of them or
                          > read their books (or books about them). You raise ideas on how to run a
                          > country which doesn't go well with existing history as we know it.

                          History can often be interpreted in a misleading way. Some people claim that
                          the pre-depression USA was a counter-example for why Laissez-Faire Capitalism
                          does not work, but it wasn't LFC by a long shot. Some people claim that the
                          situation of the Negros in the USA was improved by the regulation, but for
                          all we know it could have been better without it and with a public,
                          voluntary, action on part of the Black people and the people who supported
                          them.

                          > You
                          > raise ideas on the perfect job, when your commulatative job experience is
                          > just a few months,

                          Actually my commulatative job experience is a few years.

                          > and you never talked to other people to hear about their
                          > job experiences.

                          I have in fact. On IRC, on Email, in real-life, etc.

                          Please stop making wrong generalisations about me.

                          > If you spent time on *research* - finding the facts, reading what other
                          > philosophers said, listening to what other people think, and so on - that
                          > will make you a better philosopher. If you can't do that because your time
                          > is spent doing something else (be it programming or raising a kid), well,
                          > that will never make you a better philosopher, unfortunately.
                          >

                          I could find facts. But I believe a philosopher has an artistic licence to
                          publish an essay without much fact checking. Just because he has this idea.
                          As you may know, I publish a lot of mini-essays on my blogs, because I have a
                          good idea, and don't want to form it into a good essay on my site (or don't
                          feel its scope justifies that), and instead just publish it there for
                          everybody to read.

                          > At least this is how I see it.
                          >
                          > > While education is important, your output is what matters, not what
                          > > you've earned.
                          >
                          > This is 100% right. So if one day you'll write a brilliant philosophical
                          > essay, I'd say, hats off for that auto-deduct renaisance-man. But until
                          > then, I can still try to make suggestions ;-)

                          I think many of my philosophical essays are good. Most of them are not about
                          philosophy proper ("What is existence?", "Is the meta-variable nature of the
                          presence of multi-purpose individualism beneficial for the collective state
                          of mind?"[1]) but rather about applicative philosophy.

                          If you're claiming I should invest more time in researching my essays, that
                          may be true, and I can agree with that. However, if you're claiming I should
                          get a Ph.D. in Philosophy, just to be able to call myself a philsopher - it's
                          not something I can agree with.

                          A good engineer is any person who is competent at doing engineering work, not
                          necessarily someone who has a degree in an engineering field. Similarly, a
                          philosopher may not have studied philosophy in university. I believe my
                          experience as a software developer, a student for Electrical Engineering in
                          the Technion, a K12 student, a writer of humourous stories, bits and
                          aphorisms, a writer and giver of presentations, a blogger, etc. give me
                          enough credit to call myself a philosopher. And I certainly have more in my
                          arsenal than most people with a B.A. in philosophy.

                          {{{{{{{{
                          [1] - Don't ask me what the latter question mean.
                          }}}}}}}}

                          >
                          > > I have read many of Kant's conclusions - from you or otherwise. And I can
                          > > prove them to be wrong based on Logic and more basic assumptions.
                          > > According to Neo-Tech, everything of importance can be deduced from the
                          > > biological nature of men and women (and possibly some other natural laws
                          > > and facts) and using Logic.
                          >
                          > So basically, your argument is that since Neo-Tech is right, Kant must be
                          > wrong.

                          That's not what I said. You completely mis-interpreted me. What I said was
                          that given several of Kant's conclusions, I could disprove them based on some
                          more basic assumptions and Logic. Nothing that has to do with Neo-Tech. I
                          don't know how Kant reached his conclusions, but since the conclusions are
                          wrong, I can assume his reasoning was wrong too. (Or else Logic, which is the
                          tool for non-contradictory identification, is useless.)

                          > That would be a perfect proof, if only Neo-Tech was indeed right.
                          > But how do you know it is? And what if neither of those two positions is
                          > wrong, and Neo-Tech is only partially right, and Kant is also partially
                          > right? And what does it mean to be "right" anyway?

                          I have some things I disagree with the core Neo-Tech documentation, or think
                          they should be corrected. I also have many extensions or corrections to
                          Neo-Tech. And I think some of the strategy that Neo-Tech took was wrong.
                          However, that doesn't make me any less of a N-Ter, because in N-T people
                          think for themselves, guide themselves, and philosophise for themselves.

                          > Philosophy isn't an
                          > exact science like math or physics. You don't check a philosophical idea -
                          > which is a way to look at the world - for correctness based on experiments;
                          > Nor can you check them using just logic - because unlike mathematics, there
                          > is no fixed set of "philosophical axioms" that everyone agrees with.
                          >

                          Due to the liberty of speech anyone can utter the greatest stupidity, and it
                          is his right to do it. However, it is also my right to claim that he's
                          speaking non-sense, or even trying to voice a bad philosophy in order to do
                          harm. I believe that like Math, we can make a deduction about reality,
                          humans, societies, etc.

                          For example, many people assume that altruism, the belief that humans must or
                          should subject themselves to "higher causes" in order to live is good.
                          However, then Ayn Rand asked "Why?" - give me a good reason why. And you
                          cannot answer.

                          JFK said <<< Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do
                          for your country. >>>. There's also <<< Social good is superior to personal
                          good. >>> . That was a slogan of the German Nazi party. (and no, Godwin's Law
                          is not invoked here.)

                          Imagine what would happen if a vast majority of the people of the countries
                          surrounding Germany before WWII were armed with firearms. Wouldn't history be
                          completely different?

                          > Just a small example, is it ethical to eat animals? Some say it is (like
                          > probably Neo-Tech, since eating meat is in our biological design), some say
                          > it isn't (like the aforementioned Peter Singer). There isn't a "right"
                          > answer. The only thing that matters (to philosophers) is how you explain
                          > your answer, and the assumptions you made during this explanation (the
                          > "axioms"). You can say "yes" with a good explanation, and you can say "no"
                          > with a good explanation...

                          If you tell me Peter Singer's reasoning, I may be able to detect some flaws in
                          it. I can accept any philosophy as a philosophy, but I also reserve the right
                          to claim it is false, invalid and illogical. Otherwise, we might as well
                          agree that for each A, both A and Not-A are true, and being omni-knowing not
                          say anything later on.

                          Regards,

                          Shlomi Fish

                          ---------------------------------------------------------------------
                          Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                          Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

                          If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
                          one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
                          -- An Israeli Linuxer
                        • Tzahi Fadida
                          ... Don t confuse implementation and design :). To the best of my knowledge, linus may have implemented many ideas in FOSS but did not invent those ideas. His
                          Message 12 of 18 , Apr 13 1:44 AM
                          • 0 Attachment
                            On Friday 13 April 2007 10:52:19 Shlomi Fish wrote:
                            > Are you kidding? Linus had a huge effect. A lot of what he says has been
                            > very influential. He's often being quoted. He is a wonderful humourist and
                            > has provided a lot of balance to free software by not holding the radical
                            > opinions that RMS does. And he projected the project of writing the Linux
                            > kernel which is currently the most advanced open-source kernel and the one
                            > used by the most popular free software OS.
                            >
                            > From reading Linus, I think he's both extremely intelligent and extremely
                            > wise. RMS, OTOH is very idealistic, very stubborn and completely unable to
                            > distiniguish between the two. I often found value in what RMS said, but I
                            > believe I usually agree with what Linus or other people like Tim O'Reilly
                            > say more.

                            Don't confuse implementation and design :). To the best of my knowledge, linus
                            may have implemented many ideas in FOSS but did not invent those ideas. His
                            influence thus, is more of spreading the word instead of inventing the word,
                            which is what RMS did/does. Even now, i hear that for GPLv3 he had more
                            reservations than any ideas.

                            --
                            Regards,
                                    Tzahi.
                            --
                            Tzahi Fadida
                            Blog: http://tzahi.blogsite.org | Home Site: http://tzahi.webhop.info
                            WARNING TO SPAMMERS:  see at
                            http://members.lycos.co.uk/my2nis/spamwarning.html
                          • Muli Ben-Yehuda
                            ... So, how many projects have you worked on with Linus? Because from where I stand, Linus is a far better designer than implementor, and he s a great
                            Message 13 of 18 , Apr 13 10:44 AM
                            • 0 Attachment
                              On Fri, Apr 13, 2007 at 11:44:58AM +0300, Tzahi Fadida wrote:

                              > Don't confuse implementation and design :). To the best of my knowledge, linus
                              > may have implemented many ideas in FOSS but did not invent those
                              > ideas.

                              So, how many projects have you worked on with Linus? Because from
                              where I stand, Linus is a far better designer than implementor, and
                              he's a great implementor.

                              > His influence thus, is more of spreading the word instead of
                              > inventing the word, which is what RMS did/does. Even now, i hear
                              > that for GPLv3 he had more reservations than any ideas.

                              Same question.

                              Cheers,
                              Muli
                            • Nadav Har'El
                              ... My original point (before Shlomi replied and Tzahi s replied to it) was that while Linus is a gifted engineer (which you split into two kinds of gifts,
                              Message 14 of 18 , Apr 13 1:06 PM
                              • 0 Attachment
                                On Fri, Apr 13, 2007, Muli Ben-Yehuda wrote about "Re: [Israel.pm] [hackers-il] Mission Statement for a New Company based on Voluntarism-taken-to-Extreme":
                                > On Fri, Apr 13, 2007 at 11:44:58AM +0300, Tzahi Fadida wrote:
                                >
                                > > Don't confuse implementation and design :). To the best of my knowledge, linus
                                > > may have implemented many ideas in FOSS but did not invent those
                                > > ideas.
                                >
                                > So, how many projects have you worked on with Linus? Because from
                                > where I stand, Linus is a far better designer than implementor, and
                                > he's a great implementor.

                                My original point (before Shlomi replied and Tzahi's replied to it) was
                                that while Linus is a gifted engineer (which you split into two kinds
                                of gifts, "design" and "implemtation"), he spent and still spends most of
                                his time on engineering, and a minority of his time (although of course not
                                zero) "philosophizing" on free software licenses and their social effects,
                                on the effects of patents on innovation, on expanding free software's
                                philosophy to other areas of intellectual property (text, music, etc.) and
                                other areas of life in general, and so on.

                                Not spending most of his time philosophizing doesn't say anything bad about
                                Linus (some may even say it's a *good* thing!) but I think it can hardly be
                                denied.

                                On the other hand, there are people in the free software world that *do*
                                spend most of their time philosophizing, theorizing, and writing texts - not
                                software. This includes Richard Stallman, Eric Raymond (ESR), and a bunch of
                                others, many of them not (yet?) famous. There are even groups trying to work
                                together on free software philosophy, like the german Okenux, trying (in very
                                broad terms, that may do them an injustice) to somehow combine the best ideas
                                of marxism and free software.

                                I've heard more than once remarks like "Who's that Eric Raymond guy, and
                                what did he do - write the measly Fetchmail application?", or "Who's that
                                Richard Stallman, and what right does he have to preach to us after he wrote
                                a lousy editor 20 years ago". Ignoring the inaccuracy of these "facts" for
                                a moment, the important point is that these "philosophers" (or theorisers,
                                writers, bloggers, or whatever you want to call them) really wrote less
                                free software in the last decade than other people (like Linus). This is
                                because they spent most of their time on free software philosophy. It doesn't
                                make their ideas any less valid. Sometimes, it makes their ideas even more
                                worth listening to because their ideas have been well-researched, well-
                                thought out, and well written.

                                Of course, not everybody that has a lot of free time and writes something
                                is worth listening to. Hitler's book (and again, I hope I'm not invoking
                                Godwin's law ;-)) was written while he was in jail, and had a lot of time
                                to think on his hatred to Jews and come up with all sorts of insane theories
                                and plans. This is why peer review and hind-sight by the next generations is
                                important in philosophy, as in any other academic field. Kant (just to use
                                an example given by Shlomi) is remembered today not because of some arbitrary
                                reason, but because his peers and successors thought that his theories were
                                interesting, important, and that we have something to learn from them, even
                                if not all of them are considered 100% correct. Just like Newton's is still
                                considered important to learn, even though later generations found that in
                                many cases, his laws aren't actually correct, and have been ammended by
                                relativity, quantum physics, and so on.

                                --
                                Nadav Har'El | Friday, Apr 13 2007, 26 Nisan 5767
                                nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                                Phone +972-523-790466, ICQ 13349191 |Those who beat their swords into
                                http://nadav.harel.org.il |plowshares will plow for those who don't.
                              • Tzahi Fadida
                                ... We are referring here to FOSS philosophy, not to coding (either code design or code implementation). If there are projects of FOSS philosophy i am not
                                Message 15 of 18 , Apr 13 2:59 PM
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  On Friday 13 April 2007 21:36:16 Muli Ben-Yehuda wrote:
                                  > On Fri, Apr 13, 2007 at 11:44:58AM +0300, Tzahi Fadida wrote:
                                  > > Don't confuse implementation and design :). To the best of my knowledge,
                                  > > linus may have implemented many ideas in FOSS but did not invent those
                                  > > ideas.
                                  >
                                  > So, how many projects have you worked on with Linus? Because from
                                  > where I stand, Linus is a far better designer than implementor, and
                                  > he's a great implementor.

                                  We are referring here to FOSS philosophy, not to coding (either code design or
                                  code implementation). If there are projects of FOSS philosophy i am not aware
                                  off, i will take my comments back. Till then...

                                  > > His influence thus, is more of spreading the word instead of
                                  > > inventing the word, which is what RMS did/does. Even now, i hear
                                  > > that for GPLv3 he had more reservations than any ideas.
                                  >
                                  > Same question.

                                  Same answer.


                                  --
                                  Regards,
                                          Tzahi.
                                  --
                                  Tzahi Fadida
                                  Blog: http://tzahi.blogsite.org | Home Site: http://tzahi.webhop.info
                                  WARNING TO SPAMMERS:  see at
                                  http://members.lycos.co.uk/my2nis/spamwarning.html
                                • Shlomi Fish
                                  ... [hackers-il] Mission Statement for a New Company based on ... That may be true. ... Right. ... Well, this is a generalisation, which is not quite accurate.
                                  Message 16 of 18 , Apr 14 12:29 PM
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    On Friday 13 April 2007, Nadav Har'El wrote:
                                    > On Fri, Apr 13, 2007, Muli Ben-Yehuda wrote about "Re: [Israel.pm]
                                    [hackers-il] Mission Statement for a New Company based on
                                    Voluntarism-taken-to-Extreme":
                                    > > On Fri, Apr 13, 2007 at 11:44:58AM +0300, Tzahi Fadida wrote:
                                    > > > Don't confuse implementation and design :). To the best of my
                                    > > > knowledge, linus may have implemented many ideas in FOSS but did not
                                    > > > invent those ideas.
                                    > >
                                    > > So, how many projects have you worked on with Linus? Because from
                                    > > where I stand, Linus is a far better designer than implementor, and
                                    > > he's a great implementor.
                                    >
                                    > My original point (before Shlomi replied and Tzahi's replied to it) was
                                    > that while Linus is a gifted engineer (which you split into two kinds
                                    > of gifts, "design" and "implemtation"), he spent and still spends most of
                                    > his time on engineering, and a minority of his time (although of course not
                                    > zero) "philosophizing" on free software licenses and their social effects,
                                    > on the effects of patents on innovation, on expanding free software's
                                    > philosophy to other areas of intellectual property (text, music, etc.) and
                                    > other areas of life in general, and so on.

                                    That may be true.

                                    >
                                    > Not spending most of his time philosophizing doesn't say anything bad about
                                    > Linus (some may even say it's a *good* thing!) but I think it can hardly be
                                    > denied.

                                    Right.

                                    >
                                    > On the other hand, there are people in the free software world that *do*
                                    > spend most of their time philosophizing, theorizing, and writing texts -
                                    > not software. This includes Richard Stallman, Eric Raymond (ESR), and a
                                    > bunch of others, many of them not (yet?) famous.

                                    Well, this is a generalisation, which is not quite accurate. ESR still spends
                                    a large amount of his time writing code - he recently wrote bogofilter for
                                    example, and many other things. RMS cannot write code due to strain injury
                                    (see http://geekz.co.uk/lovesraymond/archive/hacking-for-christ ). However,
                                    he still spends a large amount of his time doing: working on the GPLv3 and
                                    other licences (GFDL, etc.), writing essays, travelling and giving
                                    presentations, etc.

                                    Consider this quote by Richard P. Feynman from his excellent book "Surely
                                    you're Joking, Mr. Feynman":

                                    http://www.pitt.edu/~druzdzel/feynman.html

                                    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
                                    I don't believe I can really do without teaching. The reason is, I have to
                                    have something so that when I don't have any ideas and I'm not getting
                                    anywhere I can say to myself, "At least I'm living; at least I'm doing
                                    something; I am making some contribution" -- it's just psychological.

                                    When I was at Princeton in the 1940s I could see what happened to those great
                                    minds at the Institute for Advanced Study, who had been specially selected
                                    for their tremendous brains and were now given this opportunity to sit in
                                    this lovely house by the woods there, with no classes to teach, with no
                                    obligations whatsoever. These poor bastards could now sit and think clearly
                                    all by themselves, OK? So they don't get any ideas for a while: They have
                                    every opportunity to do something, and they are not getting any ideas. I
                                    believe that in a situation like this a kind of guilt or depression worms
                                    inside of you, and you begin to worry about not getting any ideas. And
                                    nothing happens. Still no ideas come.

                                    Nothing happens because there's not enough real activity and challenge: You're
                                    not in contact with the experimental guys. You don't have to think how to
                                    answer questions from the students. Nothing!
                                    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

                                    While this quote is a bit wrong-headed - it illustrates a point. As I'm saying
                                    here - http://xrl.us/vrek - there are several levels of learning:

                                    * Level 1 - Learning.

                                    * Level 2 - Experimenting.

                                    * Level 3 - Teaching.

                                    * Possible Level 4 - Science or Philosophy. (Possibly included in Level 3)

                                    Now you need to learn something before you can experiment with it, and you
                                    need to experiment with something before you can teach it. However, you
                                    cannot just sit idly on day thinking - this is unproductive.

                                    I believe I'm now spending a minority of my time coding. Most of
                                    my "productive" time is spent writing essays, important emails (like this),
                                    blog entries, etc. But I also get a lot of inspiration and insights from
                                    learning or experiencing with new technologies, etc. I must if I want to be
                                    good.

                                    Nadav, the obscure philosopher you've quoted was wrong. While it is possible
                                    that my philosophical essays will not be taught in philosophical courses
                                    soon, it does not mean it is invalid or bad or not innovative. Most B.A.
                                    Philosophy corriculums don't cover Ayn Rand either, and I found her
                                    philosophy incredibly original and highly enlightening. And all her books
                                    were huge best-sellers, and have directly influenced a great deal of
                                    Americans and other people.

                                    > There are even groups
                                    > trying to work together on free software philosophy, like the german
                                    > Okenux, trying (in very broad terms, that may do them an injustice) to
                                    > somehow combine the best ideas of marxism and free software.
                                    >
                                    > I've heard more than once remarks like "Who's that Eric Raymond guy, and
                                    > what did he do - write the measly Fetchmail application?", or "Who's that
                                    > Richard Stallman, and what right does he have to preach to us after he
                                    > wrote a lousy editor 20 years ago". Ignoring the inaccuracy of these
                                    > "facts" for a moment, the important point is that these "philosophers" (or
                                    > theorisers, writers, bloggers, or whatever you want to call them) really
                                    > wrote less free software in the last decade than other people (like Linus).
                                    > This is because they spent most of their time on free software philosophy.
                                    > It doesn't make their ideas any less valid. Sometimes, it makes their ideas
                                    > even more worth listening to because their ideas have been well-researched,
                                    > well- thought out, and well written.

                                    I feel that I've written less code lately, and instead wrote more philosophy.
                                    That's what I feel I'm better at. However, I still have to write some code
                                    and be productive in this regard, or else I'll lose my edge.

                                    >
                                    > Of course, not everybody that has a lot of free time and writes something
                                    > is worth listening to. Hitler's book (and again, I hope I'm not invoking
                                    > Godwin's law ;-))

                                    No, it does not.

                                    > was written while he was in jail, and had a lot of time
                                    > to think on his hatred to Jews and come up with all sorts of insane
                                    > theories and plans. This is why peer review and hind-sight by the next
                                    > generations is important in philosophy, as in any other academic field.
                                    > Kant (just to use an example given by Shlomi) is remembered today not
                                    > because of some arbitrary reason, but because his peers and successors
                                    > thought that his theories were interesting, important, and that we have
                                    > something to learn from them, even if not all of them are considered 100%
                                    > correct. Just like Newton's is still considered important to learn, even
                                    > though later generations found that in many cases, his laws aren't actually
                                    > correct, and have been ammended by relativity, quantum physics, and so on.

                                    Well, it is important not to take anything for granted. I used to find a lot
                                    of value in Marx' theory, but then after reading Neo-Tech, and other
                                    Objectivist writing, and taking the time to digest it, found Marxism to be
                                    more and more stupid, and can actually prove it.

                                    As you may well know, there are many ways of explicit or implicit censorship:
                                    state-governed censorship (Modern day China, the Communism in Eastern
                                    Europe), abusive laws such as the DMCA, or copyright takedown notices etc.
                                    All of these prevent the proper growth and expansion of knowledge:

                                    http://www.paulgraham.com/say.html

                                    Regards,

                                    Shlomi Fish

                                    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                                    Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

                                    If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
                                    one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
                                    -- An Israeli Linuxer
                                  Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.