The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'eric s. raymond'
Hacker and painter Maciej Ceglowski calls bullshit on Paul Graham's Hackers and Painters, claiming that the two occupations have no more in common than hackers and, say, pastry chefs, and that Graham's essay is basically an attempt to appropriate a sexier and more romantic image by hand-waving and sophistry:
Great paintings, for example, get you laid in a way that great computer programs never do. Even not-so-great paintings - in fact, any slapdash attempt at splashing paint onto a surface - will get you laid more than writing software, especially if you have the slightest hint of being a tortured, brooding soul about you. For evidence of this I would point to my college classmate Henning, who was a Swedish double art/theatre major and on most days could barely walk.
Also remark that in painting, many of the women whose pants you are trying to get into aren't even wearing pants to begin with. Your job as a painter consists of staring at naked women, for as long as you wish, and this day in and day out through the course of a many-decades-long career. Not even rock musicians have been as successful in reducing the process to its fundamental, exhilirating essence.
It's no surprise, then, that a computer programmer would want to bask in some of the peripheral coolness that comes with painting, especially when he has an axe to grind about his own work being 'mere engineering'.
Ceglowski puts the blame for Hackers and Painters, and the whole genre on the obvious suspects:
I blame Eric Raymond and to a lesser extent Dave Winer for bringing this kind of schlock writing onto the Internet. Raymond is the original perpetrator of the "what is a hacker?" essay, in which you quickly begin to understand that a hacker is someone who resembles Eric Raymond. Dave Winer has recently and mercifully moved his essays off to audio, but you can still hear him snorfling cashew nuts and talking at length about what it means to be a blogger . These essays and this writing style are tempting to people outside the subculture at hand because of their engaging personal tone and idiosyncratic, insider's view. But after a while, you begin to notice that all the essays are an elaborate set of mirrors set up to reflect different facets of the author, in a big distributed act of participatory narcissism.
Disclaimer: I'm currently halfway through Hackers and Painters; so far, I've found it interesting in a big-ideas sort of way. Though I am as yet undecided on whether the emperor is actually clothed, and whether Graham is a visionary master, a self-important blowhard or a bit of both. (One could perhaps count it in Graham's defense that Ceglowski admits to being a Perl programmer, but I digress.)
After 9/11, gun-toting libertarian and rampaging egomaniac hacker Eric S. Raymond, who maintains the Jargon File fell in with the neo-conservative warbloggers; and now, he's taking the Jargon File along for the ride. The latest edition has entries for bullethead coinages such as "anti-idiotarianism" and "fisking"; and the definition of "hacker politics" has been revised to "Formerly vaguely liberal-moderate, more recently moderate-to-neoconservative", with the proviso that "hackers too were affected by the collapse of socialism".
blogosphere (n): The totality of all blogs. A culture heavily overlapping with but not coincident with hackerdom; a few of its key coinages (blogrolling, fisking, anti-idiotarianism) are recorded in this lexicon for flavor. Bloggers often divide themselves into warbloggers and techbloggers. The techbloggers write about technology and technology policy, while the warbloggers are more politically focused and tend to be preoccupied with U.S. and world response to the post-9/11 war against terrorism.
Ah yes, the "blogging was born on 9/11" myth. (via NtK)
Open-source identity and guns-and-Ayn-Rand-libertarian whacko Eric S. Raymond has a righteous rant about Liberals and Conservatives, and why they are inpardonably unappealing. To which, Charlie Stross offers a reasoned response. (Note: link corrected.)
(My beliefs on the last two questions would be fairly similar to Charlie's; I find legislating to control human behaviour based on some theory repugnant (whether it's Christian Fundamentalists, Marxists, copyright absolutists or any other stripe of true believers doing the legislating), but don't like the dog-eat-dog social-darwinism of what passes for "libertarianism" in the US. And I think Ayn Rand is one notch above L. Ron Hubbard in terms of credibility.)
Also on ESR's page, an essay applying the scientific method to why porn is so ugly and unstimulating; keeping in mind that he's a libertarian polyamorist of the Heinlein stripe with a keen interest in all things bootywhangular, you can probably guess that it's not written from a puritanical angle.