Daniel Lemire's blog

, 4 min read

The hacker culture is winning

4 thoughts on “The hacker culture is winning”

  1. Yeah, it’s infectious. I’ve applied the approach to book writing with moderate success. From author’s point of view having a quick feedback loop is the greatest thing ever. This helps you to iterate towards a good outcome.

    Of course it’s likely a little annoying for the readers to receive constant revisions. Given I’m dealing with technical topic and the technology changes constantly, there’s not much I can about it, though.

    It’s simpler in fiction I suppose.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Frequent updates less mean less quality assurance and incremental software development, where the specification is fluid and never finilized.

    Secondly, some systems and/or processes simply can’t be updated daily, they run continously with only a short downtime window. Take FX platforms, their maintenance window is Friday 5pm. It is very difficult to upgrade a live system.

    Upgradig mission critical systems like power plants, water treatment, financial exchangnes should not be taken lightly as every upgrade poses a risk. Unless every upgrade comes exponential improvements in quality, hacker culture will not be adopted universally.

  3. @Anonymous

    Hacker culture went from it being a tiny minority at the margin, to being widespread. And I think that what will follow is a realization that, yes, the future is possible. We can walk to it.

    Critical systems are an interesting case. In the last 40 years, we have declared some problems to be outside the realm of hacking… nuclear technology, bio-medecine… But then, what did you get? Mass stagnation despite high costs. The result is that despite exponentially increasing investments, we fail to produce more new therapies than we did in the past. Nuclear technology is totally frozen in time (no progress in safety or costs) and, in many places, being retired entirely.

    A revelation in this respect was 9/11. We found that government agencies did not adopt modern information technology (shared web spaces, and so on). Why would they? This could only expose them to risks, right?

    Wrong. You can’t hide from the risks. You have to tackle them.

    Japan got stuck in time with nuclear technology from the 1970s. This technology, even if you never changed it, was not “safe”. They have poisoned their people and are stuck having to close things down as far as they can.

    Someone should have realized, 40 years ago, that standing still technologically was foolish. You needed people hacking nuclear technology to make it safer, more efficient…

    Medical technology is another one… We are scared to trying things out for fear of making people sick or killing them… but people get sick and die right now…

    By standing still, we are killing people. It is unsafe to stand still.

    I think that we are starting to collectively realize that though change is perilous, it is also the only way forward.

  4. Read your article just after reviewing this:


    I rather like this approach on a couple levels, but notably they deploy straight out of the Git repository! Lots of folk doing continuous integration and testing against OpenStack … but the software to manage a cloud is one of the more complicated stacks, and evolving constantly.

    Just a bit amazing, this!