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Its the reason why people goto CS in the first pla

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2003 02:15 AM

  Computer Science has a mathematical beauty that captures imaginations. So much is possible and there are so few limitations, an engineers dream. Its a flat playing field where extremely complicated products are made that challenges the mind the way other cubicle-based jobs dont.

  Thats why people get into software development way before college. Only in real life, a software developer spends most of his time dealing with managers and customers, and many other things that dont provide that satisfaction. The software he makes so creatively makes money for someone else. Its like a carpenters place, if hes making a brandname table with precise specs in a factory he wont enjoy it. On the other hand, if he has his own shop he would experiment.

  But programmers are too geeky to market their software. There are a lucky few who run their own companies, the rest are just slaves who have to sign in at exactly 8 in the morning and build apps with tools, all of which are someone elses choice for someone elses money. Theres no motivation to create a masterpiece, the sort that students at Berkeley did.

  Free Software removes all those confounds. If the programmer doesnt get paid, noone does. Yet his creations are appreciated by many praising users. And then theres the eternal element of ego. You dont answer to a nicely dressed MBA guy telling you your code is bad. You really compete openly with other developers, opensource or proprietary. The prospect of trying to bring down large profitable companies has the same sense that teenage crackers and phone phreaks have. The sense of power, ability to make a large change, or damage, to larger institutions. That pleasure is continued later in free software developers whose products beat those created by Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, SCO and others.

  In a battle of David and Goliath, some want to be David, some want to be Goliath. The Goliath oriented people are insecure, with low self esteem, needing powerful allys (read: Microsoft Employees from Ivy League colleges), while the David oriented people have the kind of ego and pigheadedness than Linus, Eric Raymond, Richard Stallman and Alan Cocks have.

Ghazan Haider


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