If things don't work out between you, me and K. At least we'll know that we triad
There is no belief, however foolish, that will not gather its faithful adherents who will defend it to the death.
Communication technologies are necessary, but not sufficient, for us humans to get along with each other.
I have great faith in optimism as a guiding principle, if only because it offers us the opportunity of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.
…the Linux philosophy is "laugh in the face of danger". Oops. Wrong one. "Do it yourself". That's it.
Hey, that's not a bug, that's a feature! You know what the most complex piece of engineering known to man in the whole solar system is? Guess what – it's not Linux, it's not Solaris, and it's not your car. It's you. And me. And think about how you and me actually came about – not through any complex design. Right. "Sheer luck". Well, sheer luck, and:
• Free availability and crosspollination through sharing of "source code", although biologists call it DNA.
• A rather unforgiving user environment, that happily replaces bad versions of us with better working versions and thus culls the herd (biologists often call this "survival of the fittest").
• Massive undirected parallel development ("trial and error").
I'm deadly serious: we humans have never been able to replicate something more complicated than what we ourselves are, yet natural selection did it without even thinking. Don't underestimate the power of survival of the fittest. And don't ever make the mistake that you can design something better than what you get from ruthless massively parallel trial-and-error with a feedback cycle. That's giving your intelligence much too much credit. Quite frankly, Sun is doomed. And it has nothing to do with their engineering practices or their coding style.
Nobody should start to undertake a large project. You start with a small trivial project, and you should never expect it to get large. If you do, you'll just overdesign and generally think it is more important than it likely is at that stage. Or worse, you might be scared away by the sheer size of the work you envision. So start small, and think about the details. Don't think about some big picture and fancy design. If it doesn't solve some fairly immediate need, it's almost certainly over-designed. And don't expect people to jump in and help you. That's not how these things work. You need to get something half-way useful first, and then others will say "hey, that almost works for me", and they'll get involved in the project.
The art of programming is the art of organizing complexity, of mastering multitude and avoiding its bastard chaos as effectively as possible.
Program testing can be used to show the presence of bugs, but never to show their absence!
I mean, if 10 years from now, when you are doing something quick and dirty, you suddenly visualize that I am looking over your shoulders and say to yourself "Dijkstra would not have liked this", well, that would be enough immortality for me.
Can the decision to be less selfish ever be anything other than a selfish decision?
Not a single one of the cells that compose you knows who you are, or cares.
The methods of science aren't foolproof, but they are indefinitely perfectible. Just as important: there is a tradition of criticism that enforces improvement whenever and wherever flaws are discovered.
I am inclined to think that nothing could matter more than what people love. At any rate, I can think of no value that I would place higher. I would not want to live in a world without love. Would a world with peace, but without love, be a better world? Not if the peace was achieved by drugging the love (and hate) out of us, or by suppression. Would a world with justice and freedom, but without love, be a better world? Not if it was achieved by somehow turning us all into loveless law-abiders with none of the yearnings or envies or hatreds that are wellsprings of injustice and subjugation.
We live in a society absolutely dependent on science and technology and yet have cleverly arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. That's a clear prescription for disaster.
We are the local embodiment of a Cosmos grown to selfawareness. We have begun to contemplate our origins: starstuff pondering the stars; organized assemblages of ten billion billion billion atoms considering the evolution of atoms; tracing the long journey by which, here at least, consciousness arose. Our loyalties are to the species and the planet. We speak for Earth. Our obligation to survive is owed not just to ourselves but also to that Cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we spring.