My personal journey from MIT to GPL

Your parents probably taught you about the Golden Rule when you were young: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The GPL is the legal embodiment of this Golden Rule: in exchange for benefiting from my hard work, you just have to extend me the same courtesy. Its the unfortunate acknowledgement that we’ve created a society that incentivises people to forget the Golden Rule. I give people free software because I want them to reciprocate with the same. That’s really all the GPL does. Its restrictions just protect the four freedoms in derivative works. Anyone who can’t agree to this is looking to exploit your work for their gain – and definitely not yours.

Drew De Vault

suggested reads for May 26, 2019

The Programmers’ Responsibility

Programmers will have to lead. Software is everywhere and nothing can happen without software. Programmers hence have a huge responsibility. A lot of things can go wrong because of the work of programmers. Uncle Bob takes the example of car crashes due to software issues. As the work of programmers is critical in so many fields, they must take the responsibility of what they’re building. If they don’t, governments and politicians will write the rules themselves: what processes, what languages or what platforms programmers should use. Uncle Bob finally explains the need for programmers to regulate themselves, define the ethics and principles they should follow and set a level of moral discipline to respect. It could lead to programmers taking an oath as doctors take the Hippocratic oath.

The Problem with Programming

Software developers have become adept at the difficult art of building reasonably reliable systems out of unreliable parts. The snag is that often we do not know exactly how we did it: a system just “sort of evolved” into something minimally acceptable. Personally, I prefer to know when a system will work, and why it will.
Bjarne Stroustrup

From a 2006 interview by Jason Pontin on the MIT Technology Review