This is a very interesting subject as there are few workers’ co-operatives in existence…or maybe there are a lot of them but the problem is they don’t advertise how they do business and they don’t always discuss how they do consensus-based decision making and the inner workings which could help others start their own workers’ co-operative. It’s very easy to find a million books on how to start a capitalist, non-egalitarian workplace, it’s next to impossible to find one on a co-operative.
On a beautiful Sunday morning, I have to link to this bit of ugliness on the illegal bulk data collection by the Canadian spy agency, CSIS. Only a handful members of government knew about and it was only revealed because of a court case.
From the article:
Many corporations and government agencies are now gravitating toward so-called big data computer analytics that can predict patterns of future behaviour based upon records about what has happened in the past. Spy agencies are no different, and the centre in question appears to be the Canadian Security Intelligence Service’s equivalent of a crystal ball – a place where intelligence analysts attempt to deduce future threats by examining, and re-examining, volumes of data.
Martin Sustrik has written an article about the number of Github repos that have licenses and apparently that number has been declining. Github now lets newly created repositories to insert a license file that has the text of licenses such as the MIT, Apache 2.0 and GPL.
His theory is that more developers just don’t care about licenses anymore and are completely rejecting them and the copyright system that goes along with them.
So, the other possibility is that authors deliberately reject the legal system per se. The reasoning can go as follows: I do care about my peers using my software. I don’t give a damn about whether the lawyers and mega-corporations they work for use it. So, if you are like me and you don’t care about all the intellectual property antics, here’s my project, feel free to use it. If you are the kind of moron who wants to have their legal ass covered, go screw yourself.
Where I think he goes wrong is in stating that this is a more radical position than the Free Software movement’s statement:
Put this way, publishing without license is a much more radical statement than GPL is. Where RMS says: “You can use my stuff if you buy into the idea of free software,” people publishing without license say: “You can use my stuff if you are willing to ignore the law.” It’s a bit like when you want to join mafia and they ask you to beat an innocent bystander to prove your contempt for the rule of law.
This is missing the point. Yes the GPL relies on the existing copyright system of enforcement, but if you aren’t using GPL that’s absolutely fine and is in fact the point of the GPL; that we are creating new free/open source software that can exist *outside* of the realm of our antiquated copyright system. Richard Stallman was keenly aware of this and why he worked on creating a license that can use existing system against itself.
One day we’ll reach a tipping point where it would be stupid to try and copyright a piece of software, absolutely ridiculous, something that’s only done by someone selfish and anti-social. Until that day, however, we have the GPL to protect us from companies that want to lower their costs and take advantage of our labour. The GPL’s point is to use the copyright system against itself.
At this point you can opt out of the copyright system, but it won’t opt of you. The governments of the world, despite our protestations, want to enforce copyright on software. By neglecting to include a license, you’re actually preventing others from using your software and developing it further because your users/developers and the rest of society have bought into copyright law.
This is precisely why it’s important to talk about the GPL and copyleft. One day, all software will be free/open source and we’re getting closer. This is why I’m forking node-oauth, which was under the MIT license and changing it to the GPL3 license. Because I can’t opt out of the copyright system yet, but when we get to that day where we no longer have any copyright laws and enforcement in place, that’s when I’ll remove all the licenses from my code. Continue reading “Rejecting Software Licenses”
How Twitter Manages Engineer Effectiveness
Peter Seibel, author of Coders At Work and Practical Common Lisp, is the director of engineering effectiveness at Twitter and wrote a nice blog post about what it takes to improve and manage the effectiveness of software engineers: http://www.gigamonkeys.com/flowers/
Twitter’s Engineering Effectiveness department has the motto “Quality, Speed, Joy”:
Those are the three things we are trying to affect across all of Twitter engineering. Unlike that other famous triple, Fast, Cheap, Good, we believe you don’t have to pick just two. In fact they feed into each other: Building things right will let you go faster. Building faster will give you more time to experiment and find your way to the right thing. And everybody enjoys building good stuff and a lot of it.
There’s lots of good stuff in here; it’s a mix of war stories and great thoughts. All the italics and emphasis are mine. There really is a lot of good writing in here and it’s a great little book to read. I highly recommend it and only wish the author had put it into book format. Great quotes all around. Continue reading “Free Book on Software Engineering”
Some of the interviews are with these people:
- Michael O Church on the state of engineering and open allocation
- Peter Welch on programming does/does not suck and business doesn’t understand complexity
- Andrei Simonescu of Lavaboom on encryption, PGP/GPG, raising money, open source for core features
- John Sonmez on soft skills (non-technical skills) for developers
- Trevor Stricker on indie game development using Unity
There’s lots of interesting interviews on this podcast, lots of hours of good learning material.