It’s all broken

There are two things you should get out of these links and three very reasonable critiques of the software industry that can be made.

The most common complaint I see in the news is the lack of diversity. This is true. The pathologies in the demographics of its population are well known. It’s not quite a mono-culture but it’s certainly less internally complicated than the metal scene. The citizens are defensive and still unready for it to be eternal September. Others can talk about this, I find it mostly uninteresting.

A better complaint is that everything built with software is broken. Talk to anyone involved and they will have a horror story. You barely have to go looking, it’s right in front of you. The drive for new features that you can sell trumps the solid work of fixing bugs and improving stability. Old code survives but the people who understand the it age out. Can’t replace it, can’t shut it down, can’t do anything but keep running the same rituals to buy as much time before the eventual end. New bugs will continue to appear, security holes will proliferate, but software will continue to spread and assume more control. I have little trust that the future will be significantly different.

Consider, at last, that there’s no union for software engineers. There’s no coherent professional organization with any great clout. Instead, it seems that everyone is out to grab as much money for themselves as possible and screw the rest. Perhaps not surprising given the amount of money being thrown around. If you’re expecting to find any great solidarity, forget it. There’s only the solidarity of the trenches and when everyone moves every two years, even that is thin. The kind of cultural coordination I’m looking for is not cheap. My guess is it only appears under extreme stress applied from outside but my imagination does not extend to picturing the particular beginnings of that kind of scenario.


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