There was a great panel on Women in Open Source at OSCON. It raised some very interesting issues including the open question of why there is 10x fewer women in Open Source then in the regular tech industry (as programmers and technical roles). Worth thinking about more and I hope that O’Reilly and others can continue the inquiry within its events.
Ok in the treasure trove of yet to be posted posts is this gem from OSCON. R0ml gave an amazing (part II) of his talk that he did not complete last year. He will likely give part three the conclusion next year. The audience will be eagerly anticipating it. Here is the summary as best I can (his words are in italics). I must preface this by saying that words in text form are a poor representation of this man’s work as he takes presentation very seriously as a form of performance art.
He began with … as I was saying
Semasiology is the science of the meanings or sense development of words; the explanation of the words.
I wonder if we can collectively do a Semasiology of Identity perhaps that is a topic we can invite R0ml to consider with us since Optaros is considering and ‘identity’ practice.
He returns to a quote from the princess Bride where the guy says Inconceivable ‘I do not think it means what you think it means’
Summarizes last year’s talkwhere he made the point that the source of open source was not ‘code’ but instead was the requirements.
PART II – Really it was all about the CODE
Programs must be written for poeple to read, and only incidentially for machines to execute.
APL progammling language by Kenneth Iverson it was ‘easy to read’ and designed for Notation an a Tool of Thought.
(check out what it really looks like – totally not ‘easy to read’)
70-80% of all “software development is maintenance
70-80% of all maintenance is reading old code and understanding
49-64% of the cost of CODE
WEB originates from this work Literate Programming by Donald Knuth. It is a method of composing programs. He felt the time was ripe for significantly better documentation of program and saw them as Works of Literature. He was an essayist whose main concern is with exposition and excellence of style.
With Literate Programming there are two steps
Tangle (create the code)
Weave (create the documentation)
Hence the aphorism: Given one Literate eyeball, most bugs are shallow.
This language and its associated programs have come to be known as the WEB system.
He said: I chose the name WEB partly becasue iftwas one of the fe three-letter words of the Engligh lanauge not applied to computers
We can also invite some other words to describe the programming process from this set of words.
SPIN (create requirements) …a ask in spining a yarn
Knit (create the test cases)
Fashion (generate the models)
We might wonder how good our spinning, knitting and fashioning are going in the identity space. Hopefully the IIW in October can help with all three.
Warning this next section has a lot of free association
Steven Roger Fischer wrote A History of Reading
How many people are computer literate?
The census bureau says there are 600,000 programmers in the US.
If you include other professions that also would read code as part of their job you reach about 1.9 million which is less then one percent. It is about 16 million people world wide which is 1/6th of one percent world wide.
Where does reading come from? All early reading involved simple code recognition very task oriented.
Sumarian writing developed
Enheduanna was the first poet in 2285 BC. and was the daughter of Kin Sargon.
Ada Byron – first programmer Countess of Lovelase is the daughter of a poet.
In Sumaria at the time this poem was written only 1% of population knows how to read in the Great City of UR.
Around 500BC.. Athenians 5% could read.
This was the Dark Ages 500 AD at it was asserted that what writing made presnet to reader pictures make present ot the illiterate.
That is the GUI…(Graphical USer interface)
Words were written down for Public Performance:
scripta manet verba volat
script remains verbal is volitle
writing is eternal, talk is ephemeral
This phrase did not mean this
To ‘read’ was to transmit, not to receive. Things written were written as memory aids.
To read was to speak…because of not for orators…
So this phrase really meant:
Writing reposes, speaking soars
Writing isn’t any good unless you read it out loud. Existance of the book meant that the speaker could be anybody.
GPL3 – GPL is a copyright.
Copyright protects against unauthorisze copying derivation, distribution or publicly performance.
What does it mean to publically perform software?
It means to ‘run the code’
The purpose of the code is to be performed.
GPL defines source code’s preferred form of the work for making modifications to it.
Voices of the Absent
The spanish theologian – Isidor of Seville (560-636 BC) – praised silent reading, too, for being without effort, reflecting on the which has been read rednering their in.
In 1999 St Isidore was named the patron saint of programmers
He wrote a treatise – Etymologiae (source) or Origines as sometimes called.
He compiled it – all existing knowledge and literature.
Authorship does not matter the collection of knowledge matters.
What happen next? In the early middle ages changes our understanding of authorship changed. Integrity of the Authors Source Code
Something changed meaning of word to read… it was now possible to read in silence…
789 Admonitio Generalis no standards improve aimed specifically at educaiton reading and writing.
Carolingian Minuscurle brought some standards in.
Alcuin of York 798-804
Words are separated use a blank space.
What 0 did for math the space di for reading.
Irish scribes created the fullstop, comma, semicolon
Standards emerged for heights (m) ascenders (b) decenders (g)
Reading went form public act to private act – reader is no longer shared the text with others.
Reading and writing was collaborative and became individual.
Reusable Software is collaborative.
will it become individual?
Readable software needs typography.
If you write scripts they will need maintenance.
If you write readable code they will soar.
Writing reposes, speaking soars
scripta manet verba volat
Programming is literature.
Reading is not performance.
Two gods of literature the reader and writer.
Rewriting of what the author has originally authored.
Moving away from respect to original author when writing became a silent and private act.
Intellectual Property is invented in 1251
So we flip back to authorship…
In antiquity we gave credit to original author because failure to respect honored ancestor.
Post renaissance -> more about legal requirement.
Couple hundred years 40-50% will read can read CODE.
When this happens will the collaborative nature dissipate?
Power of collaboration is essence of what it is about now but it may become a private act.
Symbolic manipulation skill.
Extent to writing skill – literary skill.
We have done this before.
Speaking venacular of that people are talking.
Semiotic agreement about core set of concepts.
Be liberal in what you understand.
Be strict in what in what you are trying to say.
Poetry is obfuscated.
Poetry is set in LINE.
The white space is significant.
Prose it is not.
Come to OSCON for Part III next year.
There is and Identity Workshop Birds of a Feather meeting at the Open Source Convention next week on Wednesday August 3rd from 7:30pm to 8:30pm.