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Re: PG: Hackers and Painters

On Wednesday, May 14, 2003, at 15:33 US/Eastern, Zachery Bir wrote:
> I think the lone wolf cowboy attitude needs a trip through a 
> refactoring browser

The drawback for the lone wolf is that life is too short, and what 
needs to be done grows with our imaginations.  At some point one has to 
say, "I need help."  When RMS started GNU, I thought he was noble but 
doomed:  it was just too big a task.  What made it work was him blazing 
a trail, and thousands of others joining in.  Coding and interface 
standards eventually came into being to help people "get it right" 
without getting in the way of people coming up with new stuff all the 
time.  The increasing number of people who write great free software 
amazes me.

> Maybe all my old-timer colleagues would really prefer for the young'ns 
> to just get the hell out.

Hell No.  I'm almost 43, so I guess I'm officially ancient (>40? >30?). 
  I work with a 22 year-old who's incredible.  He's sees what's right 
from what's garbage instantly, he codes fast, his code works, and it's 
readable.  He never went to college.  I learn from him EVERY TIME I 
interact with him.  Having him on my current project keeps me honest 
and sharp.  He likes me because I have "experience" and know some old 
tricks.  He may not realize often I'm only a few days ahead of him.

I've heard "old-timers" express one beef about some young'ns:  CS 
professors lament some of their students do things they insist are new 
that were first done ages ago.  When children learn to walk or talk, do 
we parents squash their joy (and ours) with a "You aren't the first!"  

What XP, pair programming, code ownership/non-ownership, all boil down 
to for me is people working together with mutual respect, being good 
listeners and teachers, jumping in with ideas, creating something 
shared, and keeping the fire burning.

Geoffrey S. Knauth | http://knauth.org/gsk