There seems to be a big disconnect between the bureaucratic-minded developers and the so-called hackers (’hackers’ in Paul Graham’s sense of the word). This disconnect is getting exacerbated lately by the explosive success of the hackers’ business model (witness the juggernaut that is Ruby on Rails, 37signals, etc.)
Bureaucrats obviously dislike languages that require thinking. Bureaucrats prefer to migrate expertise from the individuals and into the prescribed ’system’ (by prescribed ’system’ we mean faceless, nameless policies and procedures). This is precisely why bureaucrats insist that only languages such as Java and C# are worthy of their attention. They despise any languages that cannot easily be offloaded onto some mechanical device, such as Eclipse’s Modeling Framework, or onto some overseas organization.
Hackers on the other hand tend to despise any mechanization, or industrialization of the process of creating software. Hackers are not buying into the possibility of drawing a picture that could be used to generate the machine executable code. Real hackers know that programming is like higher mathematics — it’s too abstract to be ever faithfully expressed visually.
What’s interesting is how bureaucrats use FUD to push forward their agendas. First they insist that all programming languages were created equal. After all, it’s all ones and zeros, so what’s the big fuss?
But then they turn around and claim how all languages were actually not created equal, because in Java we have the pinnacle of simplicity — in Java, you can do something in one, and only one proper way (so, the simplicity in Java turns out to actually be rigidity). The FUD bureaucrats are spreading is so lame, so desperate, that it would be hilarious if it wasn’t so bloody damaging to our industry.
It’s definitely going to be an uphill battle for the hackers. I firmly believe that creativity will, in the end, win. But lots of people are going to try and kill creativity, no matter what the price.
I predict that it’s going to get very ugly. Much uglier than it already is. The time is slowly coming for us to make the decision — are we going to support the creative way of doing it, or the bureaucratic way?