Subject: Re: help! absolute beginner
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1998/12/19
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Joachim Achtzehnter <>
| I stick to my guns here.  Somebody seriously claiming that _everybody_
| will get access to source code via an NDA is joking, period.

  since this is clearly a projection of your mindset onto my arguments, and
  proof of the utter lack of ability to understand contrary viewpoints, I
  consider this discussion to be permanently over; I thought you would have
  a reasonable foundation for your beliefs and opinions, but it turns out
  you are incapable of understanding any alternatives, so there's no point
  in trying to figure out how you reached your conclusions.

  first, the facts: I am not the person who is joking, since I have never
  made any claims, serious or otherwise, about _everbody_ getting anything
  by any means whatsoever.  I don't talk about everybody.   people who talk
  about "everybody" are most often trying to avoid being specific about the
  people they are actually talking about in a negative sense: whoever is
  "refusing" to be part of their nice little "everybody" notion, and if
  they go on to talk about everybody, maybe those people will somehow cease
  to exist; or they are trying to "futilize" their dreams and defend their
  procrastionation and sense of hopelessness in that  no matter how you
  define "everybody", you will _never_ get enough people to count as
  "everybody" to want the same thing, no matter what it is (except sex).

  second, I would, although I haven't, seriously claim that anybody who
  wants to do a good job would get access to source code via licenses or
  other agreements, including NDAs.  this happens to be how the world
  actually works, today, but to Joachim Achtzehnter this is joking.

  third, free software is manifestly _not_ for everybody.  there are some
  rather interesting legal encumbrances on those who work with it.  for
  instance, those who want to reimplement something into free software are
  strongly encouraged not to look at the other software, but have someone
  else tell them what it does.  someone who wants to use the results from
  free software would likewise be restricted from actually looking at the
  code, if only to avoid the repercussions of the GPL tainting the work.
  that is, if you really expect to make money off of writing software that
  somebody will want to keep to themselves, for whatever reason, you'd
  better not be a free software champion.

  as I have actually said, which you ignore when you can't find any more
  material in what I do say to attack so you have to invent something that
  actually contradicts what I said, my goal with free software was to help
  educate people, help discover the real talents and bring them into very
  productive positions.  clearly, my desire to see good source code in the
  open is not changed by my growing disdain for the legal machinery that
  surrounds free software.  perhaps "Open Source" is better, I haven't had
  time to look.  perhaps what Franz Inc does in releasing to their paying
  customers a significant fraction of their source code with their support
  agreements is sufficient.  perhaps books with source code where the
  author gets paid by the buying public is an even better solution -- I
  already have several such books, and the authors have made a lot of
  money, which I think is a lot better combination than giving out stuff
  for free to people who don't appreciate what they are actually getting.

  let me touch on some of the other puzzling parts of your message:

| And you accuse me of running out of arguments?

  you pick the strangest things to react to.  I can only assume that by
  failing to get the *RIDICULE* about two pathetic losers each caught with
  their pants down and trying to be tough, you don't think they are, in
  fact, pathetic losers, but somehow should be respected for what they do!
  in my country, we have an embarrassment for finance minister who actually
  costs Norway a billion Norwegian crowns in lost international confidence
  every time he opens his mouth and says something immensely stupid.  we
  have a prime minister who has been defeated on all possible counts, yet
  who clings to powr like a leech and says "we can live with that", and
  he's a _priest_.  Norway is the second country on the planet to be run by
  a man of the cloth, yet ours is a spineless wimp who chooses idiots for
  ministers.  our spineless wimp has also voiced his whole-hearted support
  for the bombing of Iraq, so you might appreciate that I cannot but think
  it is all a giant joke.  perhaps my disrespect for the stupid leaders of
  other countries is like the black humor in Eastern Europe where people
  _had_ to laugh at their miserable conditions to survive.  however, I
  think every reasonable man has an _obligation_ to laugh at incompetent
  fools who get into (political) power.  that way, everything they do is
  the source of another joke, and that's the _best_ guarantee that the
  public will know what they're doing and have time to protest before it
  has hurt them.  think about it.

| At the same time I have every right to say that I consider non-free
| software to be a bad thing.

  "just because you're constitutionally entitled to a personal opinion
  doesn't mean you're constitutionally entitled to a professional opinion."
						-- Michael Padlipsky

| This is not so difficult to understand, isn't it?

  well, speaking of which, precisely how much do you think you _understand_
  of what I have been trying to communicate to you?  I don't think you want
  me to _understand_ you, either, or you would have done a hell of a lot
  better job of providing me with something that would, in fact, have
  communicated your reasoning and experiences, instead of your emotional
  responses to not getting what you want.

| People make their own decisions, but we are trying to influence each
| other while doing so.

  sure, and by refusing to understand your opposition, even given your
  whining just a paragraph ago, you communicate that your position is one
  that others should _not_ adopt, because it is based on a willfully
  incomplete and romanticized view of the world you live in, which, BTW, is
  _very_ frequently coupled with a perceived need to "compromise" when the
  world isn't as nice as you think it is and you refuse to understand it
  and adjust to it, instead continuing to prefer your romanticized view + a
  compromise or two.  like our priest for prime minister: "you can live
  with that".

  compromise is what you do when you don't know what you want.
  experience is what you get when you don't get what you want.

| Did you miss the question mark?

  oh, how I _love_ this line.  thank you, thank you, thank you.  now I can
  insult you any time I want, as long as I use a question mark.  that's
  like, a General Insulting License, and we can call it "free insults".
  I'm glad you didn't use a smiley, though, because that's the General
  Insulting License, version 2, and it's not as easy to comply with.

| >   tell that to Saddam and Clinton.
| Plonk!

  darn.  had I known you were a political _activist_ nutcase, too, I would
  have made _much_ more out of this pathetic warmongering incident than I
  have.  "hey, they're going to have their religious holidays soon, so
  let's at _least_ be nicer than George Bush was in 1991 and bomb them
  _before_ the Ramadan.  that'll tell'em _we're_ basically good guys!"

  and now for some really ridiculous expressions of _deep_ confusion:

| > | Depends on the purpose of the review.  If the only objective is to
| > | replace "bad code" with "good code" for the sake of purity then I
| > | firmly believe that most substantial software systems cannot
| > | afford such luxury, it usually does more harm than good.
| > 
| >   huh?  replacing bad code with better code does more harm than
| >   good?
| In practise, when ordinary people write software (not _you_ perhaps)
| they make mistakes.  By replacing code that works perfectly well,
| although it may not live up to certain standards of good programming,
| with supposedly better code, you risk introducing bugs.  Now, with
| unlimited resources and time you can fix those.  Real projects don't
| have either, hence my suggestion that they can't _afford_ to fix code
| that works. 

  let's see, "better code" doesn't really mean "better code", it means
  "worse code" because most people are incompetent, and if I don't agree
  with this immeasurably stupid line, it's because I think I'm perfect,
  which you, because you are a true believer in incomptence, knows is
  really an _insult_ in Incompetenceville, which, by the way, is soon going
  to be bombed out of existence because you don't want to cooperate with
  code inspectors.

  you know, I can sort of understand how your mind works (or not) and how
  you come to your outlandish conclusions based on this valuable insight
  into the way you think (or not) about the world.  by this newspeak twist,
  you have effectively removed "better" from the language, and now we only
  have "bad code that works" and "better code that doesn't work".  isn't
  that's just the cutest hallmark of a "better mind" at work.  (that is,
  one that doesn't work, but which has replaced a bad one that did.  hm.
  that could be what psychiatry is about.)

  now, why am I _not_ surprised that you are a latter-day free software
  champion?  if I'm not mistaken, your belief system _centers_ around
  incompetent people, and that's why you made that derogatory remark about
  me having a hard time being surrounded by incompetents, too: that's how
  _your_ world would be if you had begun to look for competence, because
  you wouldn't know competence if it came up and bit you in the nose, but
  you _do_ know incompetence and how prevalent it is.

| While code is still actively developed a review is very useful.  I was
| talking about working software, and in particular, about code that is no
| longer the focus of development.

  review is even more important during the maintenance phase.  that's why I
  became very happy when my colleagues want to understand Lisp and I can
  explain things to them and see if something is so complex that it should
  be rewritten to be easier to understand.  maintenance is, after all,
  about getting back into the mindset of the code and make changes without
  fucking it up.  code review helps that process immensely.

  Attention, Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee!  We have
  intercepted a coded transmission from Bill Clinton to Saddam Hussein that
  puts your life in jeopardy.  Clinton is prepared to cease fire if all of
  you are killed by Iraqi terrorists, whom he won't prosecute.  Be warned!