[FoRK] Stand up and face the future

Jeff Bone jbone at place.org
Sun Dec 20 21:07:28 PST 2009

There's this occupational hazard we programmers, techie types, and  
similar geeks face as we ease on down that road to professional  

"Parallel programming?  That's just like doing multi-tasking on big  
iron.  We were doing that 10 years ago.  More."

That was my "systems analyst" later-to-be-ex father-in-law (first  
wife) back in, oh, '87 or so, when I was attempting to describe to him  
the difficulties faced by the company I then worked for as a system  
administrator in building a parallelizing Fortran compiler for one of  
the experimental parallel systems that were becoming available at the  

It was ridiculous for him to make such obviously moldy and non-current  
pronouncements then --- of course this is new and different stuff,  
Pops, you just don't grasp the difference because it's beyond your  
prior experience.  You just don't get the *shift* involved.

But as I ease my way ever deeper and hopefully gently into my third  
decade of (sometimes) writing software for money I find that this  
tendency tugs.  It pulls.  It becomes the easy out.  We might even  
believe it:

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.  Same shit, different day.


Absolutely not.  The only reason we think so is because change  
outpaces our puny ability to imagine the future.  And then ---  
whammo.  Over.

This guy below, though...  Whether or not the article is too long, is  
too windy, isn't particularly stylistically sophisticated, isn't  
particularly technically accurate, has too many errors of fact or  
language or otherwise...

I don't know how old this guy is, how grey his beard or what his other  
credentials.  I read the site;  but I don't usually find it  
particularly interesting, useful, insightful, or news-breaking.  It's  
sort of enterprise developer-ish.  It tends to say what I already  
know, generally at a less-than-useful level of detail.

But with this article, at least the author has had the courage and has  
made the effort to cast off some assumptions that may be convenient  
and comfortable but are prima facie false.  At least he has had the  
courage to stand up and face the future, unflinching, and tell it like  
it is.

I wish more of us did this.  I wish I did more often.

Read it:







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