ScholRLEA's fetish for licensing and LISP thread



  • I am in something of a quandary. I am seeking to find a way to fund a long-term (5+ years) development effort, which would encompass a new low-level toolchain, a new systems/application language and library (in a paradigm that has largely fallen out of favor but which I am hoping to help revive), and eventually a new alternative operating system. I don't really want to be in business for this (I am not suited for such work), but because of the need to maintain a full-time position in other areas of the field, I have been unable to devote more than a small amount of time to the project. I am considering various ways to raise working funds for that would support at least myself, and hopefully one other developer, full-time.

    Part of the problem is that I really prefer to avoid both OSS-distributed and proprietary approaches to development, as I see both as being a) economically flawed, and b) encouraging poor engineering. I am all in favor of visible-source, but the idea that any contributor could change the codebase at whim seems rife for poor engineering. The proprietary approach is worse, IMO, however, as there is no option for outside review of the code, and shortcuts and poor engineering once again are the result.

    [My real belief (which would probably leave me without a job, but some things are worth sacrificing for) is that software development should be a licensed and regulated field similar to law and medicine, and for the same reasons: bad software costs money, can ruin lives, and even kills. Given my view, free distribution of software (including bundling) would be forbidden, while all professionally produced software would require review by an oversight committee and a one-month public review period before being put into production use. Would it slow down the industry? Of course. Does the industry need slowing down? I would say yes.]

    Anyway: since such views are pure fantasy at this stage, I am still in the position of looking for a way to get funding for my project. I doubt Kickstarter would be a good method, as I don't know how many people I could convince that there is a need for a new Lisp dialect and tools to support it. raising $50k by donations alone is a risky proposition at best. I am sure that any attempt at venture capital would be laughed out of the room. What, if anything, would be my alternative?



  • @ScholRLEA said:

    My real belief (which would probably leave me without a job, but some things are worth sacrificing for) is that software development should be a licensed and regulated field similar to law and medicine, and for the same reasons: bad software costs money, can ruin lives, and even kills. Given my view, free distribution of software (including bundling) would be forbidden, while all professionally produced software would require review by an oversight committee and a one-month public review period before being put into production use. Would it slow down the industry? Of course. Does the industry need slowing down? I would say yes.

    But..... okaaaay ... I see .... wow.

    @ScholRLEA said:

    I don't know how many people I could convince that there is a need for a new Lisp dialect and tools to support it.

    Ummmmm....

    @ScholRLEA said:

    I am sure that any attempt at venture capital would be laughed out of the room.

    Well at least you're realistic.

    @ScholRLEA said:

    What, if anything, would be my alternative?

    I suppose you can try to seduce a rich spinster and get her to finance you? Other than that.... ummm... good luck?


  • area_deu

    @ScholRLEA said:

    software development should be a licensed and regulated field

    We had a thread about that:

    @presidentsdaughter said:

    I have the strong opinion that software development should be a regulated and licensed profession



  • @ScholRLEA said:

    [My real belief (which would probably leave me without a job, but some things are worth sacrificing for) is that software development should be a licensed and regulated field similar to law and medicine, and for the same reasons: bad software costs money, can ruin lives, and even kills. Given my view, free distribution of software (including bundling) would be forbidden, while all professionally produced software would require review by an oversight committee and a one-month public review period before being put into production use. Would it slow down the industry? Of course. Does the industry need slowing down? I would say yes.]

    Question: would a person completely ignorant of the source control system in use at the world's largest software company qualify for one of your licenses?

    Another question: who pays for this month-worth of downtime and the salary of the overview committee?

    No, the problem we (IT in general) have is programmers never learn from the past. They don't try new (or old-but-unique for that matter) OSes, tools, programs purely out of curiosity. People just stop fucking learning at some point, so they're still using tools from the 1970s, and younger programmers actually go out of their way to learn the 1970s tools in some misguided delusional belief that they are more "productive", without bothering to even attempt to quantify their productivity.

    Well, that and an utter disdain for their own customers/users.

    Well, that and... ok there are a lot of problems. But I don't see how creating a license would fix any of them.

    There's already a huge "high priesthood of technology" issue, you know the whole, "well if you're too dumb to learn Git, you don't deserve to be able to work with computers!" kind of attitude you see all the fucking time all over the place. Having these people get an expensive license would only make this problem worse.

    And if you put these people in charge of the license, what would they require? Visual Studio? GUI editors? Friendly debuggers? No, they'd be deep in open source shitville of "use the CLI or fuck off forever." Yeah, that'd slow down the industry. That'd stop the industry. There'd be no industry. (Not even getting into the whole, "you have a disability? Then FUCK OFF!" attitude of these people.)

    Not to mention you'd shut-out all those "smart kids in basements" who, to this point, have basically developed everything worthwhile in the entire industry.

    @ScholRLEA said:

    as I don't know how many people I could convince that there is a need for a new Lisp dialect and tools to support it.

    Hahahaha. Oh you're one of those "hey I wrote Hello World in LISP and it changed my life" people.

    @ScholRLEA said:

    raising $50k by donations alone is a risky proposition at best. I am sure that any attempt at venture capital would be laughed out of the room. What, if anything, would be my alternative?

    Taking out a big-ass loan.


  • SockDev

    I am sure @blakeyrat would agree with you on the whole 'free software should FOAD', however while there is a lot of terribad software about, the reality is that it wouldn't just stagnate the industry, it'd kill it.

    So much of what makes the industry work is the fact that anyone sufficiently motivated can get into it without a long, complex and expensive training. Never underestimate the hobbyist sector.

    People take the piss out of the Arduino or the Raspberry Pi but both projects are not about having cheap microcontrollers for people to mess about with, at least not directly. It's about having something cheap enough and interesting enough to encourage the next generation of innovators. Get 'em young while they haven't had the cynicism beaten into them and show them what can be achieved - just like I did as a kid.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Question: would a person completely ignorant of the source control system in use at the world's largest software company qualify for one of your licenses?

    I think the license idea is stupid, but this is stupider. Which means it probably would be part of the license requirements.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Question: would a person completely ignorant of the source control system in use at the world's largest software company qualify for one of your licenses?

    Probably not. I said right at the start that I'd be out of work if it happened.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    And if you put these people in charge of the license, what would they require? Visual Studio? GUI editors? Friendly debuggers? No, they'd be deep in open source shitville of "use the CLI or fuck off forever."

    Perhaps you missed the part where I said 'free distribution of software (including bundling) would be forbidden', though I suspect you actually just chose to ignore it for your own rhetorical reasons. I do not come to praise OSS, but to bury it.



  • @ScholRLEA said:

    Probably not. I said right at the start that I'd be out of work if it happened.

    Well, nothing's stopping you from implementing your vision right now this instant. Hire a committee (yes, you might need to take out a loan). Go start a licensing agency, come up with the requirements, start handing those suckers out.

    That's a lot more worthwhile than trying to make people like LISP, because that ain't gonna happen.



  • That's not an open source argument. That's a "developers who want to shut people off from the industry" vs. "developers who want to be inclusive of everybody" argument. Right now, the "shut out" people (who constitute a significant portion of the open source and closed source communities) do the out-shutting by creating terrible interfaces with cliff-like learning curves and general unfriendlyness.

    You're obviously in the first camp. I see no evidence that software created by people in the first camp is better than software created by people in the second. On the contrary.



  • You are absolutely right, I do want to shut people out. Why? Because the majority of coders - and I include myself and everyone else on this forum in this - aren't professionals. There are probably fewer than a hundred really serious, professional software engineers in the world, and their work is being drown in crap. I want to shut out those who aren't professionals. If it has the effect of grinding the industry to a halt, so be it. Right now, as it stands, the IT industry is a clear and present danger to everyone who uses a computer, a smart phone, a tablet, or any device with a chip embedded in it, because there are no professional standards.


  • SockDev

    Fuck me, you're actually insane.

    @blakeyrat: We're at a point whereby it would be possible to start moving in the other direction if people really wanted to, by investing time in breaking down some of the unfriendliness and the cliff-like learning curves being scaled back, but open source as a whole doesn't want to do that yet. :frowning:


  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    @ScholRLEA said:

    a clear and present danger

    99.99% of software isn't capable of being a danger to its users. Nobody gives a fuck when Angry Birds crashes. Nobody dies when Windows bluescreens. Pretty much everything that isn't embedded is harmless to humans, and the shittiest devs avoid embedded because it's, like, hard and crap, you have to know something more than javascript.



  • @Arantor said:

    @SchoolRLEA said:
    ...

    Fuck me, you're actually insane.

    Some other threads convinced me of this a while ago.



  • OK, I know that this isn't realistic. I went far too far overboard, I know. It isn't going to happen, so I should just shut up right now.


  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    It's not because it's unrealistic -- hell, I have a dream that some day every company will understand the point of fucking testing your goddamn code properly. The difference is while both are unrealistic, only one of them is actually insane.



  • @ScholRLEA said:

    You are absolutely right, I do want to shut people out. Why? Because the majority of coders - and I include myself and everyone else on this forum in this - aren't professionals.

    So who would write software? Super-intelligent energy beings from Jupiter?

    We just need to contact them somehow!!!

    EDIT: I mean I agree with you that the "majority" of engineers aren't professionals, but, and I hate to break this to you, the community here is pretty much the cream of the crop. Just having heard of FizzBuzz puts you in the top 50%, easily.

    @ScholRLEA said:

    There are probably fewer than a hundred really serious, professional software engineers in the world, and their work is being drown in crap.

    Can you name one? I'm curious. Does Jeff Atwood qualify? Or maybe you're thinking like Raymond Chen?

    Is Jensen Harris on the list? I don't know if he's ever even written one single line of code, but he's done more to make software usable than pretty much anybody since the original LISA/Mac prototyping team at Apple.

    @ScholRLEA said:

    If it has the effect of grinding the industry to a halt, so be it.

    Right but do you see the issue here? What's the incentive for, say, Apple to follow your rules if you say "oh BTW, my rules will grind your primary profit-making endeavor to a halt." Why would Apple adopt this? Why would Microsoft? IBM? Sun? Siemens? PeopleSoft? SAP? Anybody?

    That's ignoring the whole, "your idea goes against the first amendment of the biggest country in software development and this isn't, and can't possibly be made, legal."

    @ScholRLEA said:

    Right now, as it stands, the IT industry is a clear and present danger to everyone who uses a computer, a smart phone, a tablet, or any device with a chip embedded in it, because there are no professional standards.

    Demonstrably this is not true. The number of accidents due to programmer laxness has paled in comparison to, say, building engineers and inspectors. It's not even within TWO orders of magnitude. Despite software being in every appliance, every motor vehicle made in the last 20 years, almost every military weapon, etc.

    Sure, stuff like this has happened. Yes, it was tragic and probably preventable. But statistically? That event doesn't even exist. It's one millionth of a years'-worth of car deaths.

    @Arantor said:

    Fuck me, you're actually insane.

    I'm quickly coming around to this opinion.

    @Yamikuronue said:

    The difference is while both are unrealistic, only one of them is actually insane.

    Like or whatever.



  • @Arantor said:

    We're at a point whereby it would be possible to start moving in the other direction if people really wanted to,

    HyperCard in 1987 was more friendly than most open source software is today. I'm not exaggerating. This is entirely a people problem.

    @Arantor said:

    by investing time in breaking down some of the unfriendliness and the cliff-like learning curves being scaled back, but open source as a whole doesn't want to do that yet.

    Will they ever? No. It's a dead-end.



  • I've actually argued before that the government should impose some quality standards for some kinds of software, or at least make the manufacturer take responsibility. For example, embedded software. It doesn't seem right that someone can sell routers with MASSIVE security holes (or intentional backdoors) that basically leave your network exposed to anyone, and when you complain they go "Oh yeah, sorry about that. Nope, we ain't fixing it. Nope, you can't have your money back".

    But yes, programming licenses seem a bit too much. Amateur software on a personal computer doesn't hurt anyone.


  • SockDev

    I'm not disagreeing with you, @blakeyrat.

    The one difference is that I still (yes, I know, I know) have interest in a particular open source project and I'm still pushing to make it less retarded. I'm one person, I can't move the world, but I can do what I can to make it less terrible. Not all open source is full of fuckwits who don't get it. Just mostly.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    That's ignoring the whole, "your idea goes against the first amendment of the biggest country in software development and this isn't, and can't possibly be made, legal."

    And yet, it's illegal to sell flowers in some states without a license. Or, worse, to do eyebrow threading in some states you have to be credentialed with an education that never covers threading. So while maybe they couldn't stop you from making software for personal use (then again, Wickard v. Filburn) they might be able to prevent you from doing it as a job or something.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Can you name one? I'm curious.

    Not really. Donald Knuth might qualify, but even that's iffy.

    Filed Under: Yes, I set my standards on this much to high.



  • @boomzilla said:

    And yet, it's illegal to sell flowers in some states without a license.

    Ok, so you think a law saying, "software can not be distributed for free" could get past the Supreme Court? You're the prosecutor, what's your argument?



  • @ScholRLEA said:

    Filed Under: Yes, I set my standards on this much to high.

    Well I hope you got my point on the Jensen Harris bit. A lot of the people responsible for making software not shit aren't programmers. (Or put more pedantically: whether or not Jensen Harris is a programmer is irrelevant to his contribution to the industry.)

    If your license cuts-off people like Jensen Harris from participating in software development, you're making things worse, not better.


  • area_deu

    Yeah, because the ones responsible for security clearly don't already make the standards unsafe (FIPS cryptography standards, anyone?).



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Ok, so you think a law saying, "software can not be distributed for free" could get past the Supreme Court?

    No, but I think, you cannot pay a non-licensed software developer to write software could.



  • @boomzilla said:

    No, but I think, you cannot pay a non-licensed software developer to write software could.

    Yeah but that doesn't stop the whole open source thing.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @ScholRLEA said:

    My real belief (which would probably leave me without a job, but some things are worth sacrificing for) is that software development should be a licensed and regulated field similar to law and medicine, and for the same reasons: bad software costs money, can ruin lives, and even kills. Given my view, free distribution of software (including bundling) would be forbidden, while all professionally produced software would require review by an oversight committee and a one-month public review period before being put into production use. Would it slow down the industry? Of course. Does the industry need slowing down? I would say yes.

    Have you see the episode of The Simpsons where the mayor disappears, they for some reason select the smartest citizens to run the town, and everything subsequently goes to shit? You're Comic Book Guy.

    Seriously, though, this is a prime example of the type of really stupid idea that it takes someone with above average intelligence to come up with.

    @ScholRLEA said:

    a new Lisp dialect

    Because that worked out so well the last few times it's been tried.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Yeah but that doesn't stop the whole open source thing.

    True, but it still could have a chilling effect once people get it into their heads that they need the government to protect them from dangerous software.

    I'm also assuming that many of the people writing OSS are otherwise employed in a position covered by the proposed license. If enough of these people are doing other things then they're probably less likely to be interested in OSS. So I'd expcet OSS activity to be a lot smaller (just like proprietary development would be).



  • The biggest @ScholRLEA WTF: Thinking that licensed, regulated professions are somehow better than programming. That's a naive outsider looking from outside in. Behind the curtain, doctors, civic engineers and other guilded professions are just a mixed basked of competence and WTF-ery as the rest of us. They just have a caste of bureaucrats leeching off them and making things worse for little to no benefit.



  • @antiquarian said:

    ScholRLEA said:
    a new Lisp dialect

    Because that worked out so well the last few times it's been tried.

    Yeah, that has been a concern of mine, too. the established dialects of Lisp (Common Lisp and R5RS Scheme) at all popular, in part because of the bad memories many have of trying to get through SICP with a less-than-capable professor, and in any case generally haven't been brought up to date since the early 1990s - their tools are mostly archaic, CLI based things, with the major exceptions of Racket (which is so divergent that they changed the name of the language) and Allegro Common Lisp (which is extremely expensive for a commercial version). Attempts at new dialects have either died on the vine (e.g., Arc, NuLisp) or ended up in a tiny niche of a tiny niche (Clojure). It is hard to say where the failures lie, though, Is it really that language that has failed, or the implementations that support it? I am hoping against hope that it is more the former than the latter.



  • @everyone:

    Which part of @ScholRLEA's master plan would you rather have, if you had to pick one:

    • Software development is a fully regulated by the government and you need to file a request form in triplicate and go before a committee every time you want to push an update

    • Lisp becomes a major force and you need to learn at least the basics if you want to get pretty much any job anywhere (think javascript)



  • @cartman82 said:

    Lisp becomes a mayor force and you need to learn at least the basics if you want to get pretty much any job anywhere (think javascript)

    This starting to become true anyway. Mainstream languages have been converging on lisp for... well, since lisp.



  • @cartman82 said:

    Lisp becomes a major force and you need to learn at least the basics if you want to get pretty much any job anywhere (think javascript)

    This sounds much better.



  • @cartman said:

    Lisp becomes a mayor

    It would probably do a better job than Kwame Kilpatrick.



  • @boomzilla said:

    This sounds much better.

    Agree. That's just uncomfortable. The other is basically a dystopian future.



  • @cartman82 said:

    Lisp becomes a mayo

    That could cause some surprise when ordering a BLT.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    This should be a poll. For science (and stuff)!

    My vote is also for Lisp, but more against government fuckwits who don't have to deal with the consequences being in charge of software.



  • The only thing LISP is better at than other languages is hypnotizing young programmers that LISP is this great revolutionary thing that everybody would use if only it wasn't put-down by the man.

    Basically, it's the "Communism" of the programming world. And just like nobody takes you seriously if you claim Communism can solve all problems, nobody in the programming world will take you seriously if you claim LISP can solve all problems.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @ScholRLEA said:

    Attempts at new dialects have either died on the vine (e.g., Arc, NuLisp) or ended up in a tiny niche of a tiny niche (Clojure). It is hard to say where the failures lie, though, Is it really that language that has failed, or the implementations that support it? I am hoping against hope that it is more the former than the latter.

    The question which should be occurring to you at this point (but most likely isn't) is: what makes you think that your new dialect would succeed? What will you do that the others didn't? What will you do differently?

    Have you considered the possibility that the reason new Lisp dialects don't get off the ground is because the vast majority of programmers don't want to use Lisp? And when I suggest that they don't want to use Lisp, I mean it. They don't want to use any Lisp, no matter how many libraries are available, no matter how slick an IDE you provide, etc., etc.. Think about this if you move forward with the new dialect. Most of the reasons people give for not using Lisp are really excuses.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @blakeyrat said:

    Basically, it's the "Communism" of the programming world. And just like nobody takes you seriously if you claim Communism can solve all problems, nobody in the programming world will take you seriously if you claim LISP can solve all problems.

    Apt metaphor is apt.

    And yet, if you want to be taken seriously in a socio-economical debate, you should have a working understanding of how Communism works (or doesn't).



  • @cartman82 said:

    Lisp becomes a major force and you need to learn at least the basics if you want to get pretty much any job anywhere (think javascript)

    this



  • @blakeyrat said:

    The only thing LISP is better at than other languages is hypnotizing young programmers that LISP is this great revolutionary thing that everybody would use if only it wasn't put-down by the man.

    It's also really good at influencing designers of mainstream languages - they borrow more and more ideas from lisp over time.

    And the mantra isn't that it gets put down by "the man" but by unfamiliar programmers for superficial reasons (Oh, no! I've never seen the paren on that side of the function name!).

    Weren't you the one who was just complaining that people aren't willing to learn new things?

    @blakeyrat said:

    nobody in the programming world will take you seriously if you claim LISP can solve all problems.

    Good thing neither I nor ScholRLEA nor anyone else in this thread nor even Paul Graham made that claim.

    @error said:

    Apt metaphor is apt.

    Despite not being applicable?



  • @Bort said:

    Weren't you the one who was just complaining that people aren't willing to learn new things?

    LISP has been around since 1958 and hasn't done shit to advance the art. If it hasn't by now, it never will.

    @Bort said:

    Good thing neither I nor ScholRLEA nor anyone else in this thread nor even Paul Graham made that claim.

    Blakeyrat never uses hyperbole!!!!!

    Oh wait, every fucking thing I fucking type is hyperbole, you illiterate assholes.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    LISP has been around since 1958 and hasn't done shit to advance the art. If it hasn't by now, it never will.

    What I'm saying is that it has been continuously since 1958 and still is and will continue to in the future, looking at current trends in language design.

    Disagree?



  • @Bort said:

    Disagree?

    More "who gives a shit?" than agree or disagree.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    More "who gives a shit?" than agree or disagree.

    So, basically, you don't know what you're talking about and don't want to because it would invalidate your feelings.

    That's a good enough answer for me.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Weren't you the one who was just complaining that people aren't willing to learn new things?

    LISP has been around since 1958 and hasn't done shit to advance the art. If it hasn't by now, it never will.


    Tell me, now, what feature was recently added to both Java and your beloved C#? I do believe its name begins with an 'l'. Or do you think it sprang out of thin air?


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @Bort said:

    error said:
    Apt metaphor is apt.

    Despite not being applicable?

    I may be outing myself as a stupid when I say this, but I believe the fundamental problem with Communism is the same problem with Lisp: it is a mechanical attempt at a solution for what is a human problem.

    The problem with bad code is not really the language. As has been pointed out repeatedly, you can write bad code in any language. I don't think the messiah of programming languages is ever going to solve that. Increasingly refined technique and better understanding of the problem domain is the real solution, but that's going to take at least a generation or two - and we'll always have the problem that any schmuck who walks in off the street can start writing code. TOPIC RE-RAILED!



  • @ScholRLEA said:

    I do believe its name begins with an 'l'. Or do you think it sprang out of thin air?

    Is it... I don't care? That starts with an 'I'.

    Nothing sprang out of thin air, that's not the point. The point is simply this: LISP had its chance to change the world. It's had FAR MORE of a chance than, say, BeOS ever did. And yet it hasn't changed the world.

    If product A has a good feature that product B "borrows", that doesn't mean we should all give up on product B and all start using product A.


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