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Free software wisdom

Tuesday, 26 March 2024 | Nate Graham

Every week veteran KDE contributor Kevin Ottens posts a bunch of thought-provoking links on his blog, and last week’s post contained one that I found particularly enlightening:

40 years of programming

It’s a collection of wisdom written from someone named Lars Wirzenius who started his software development career decades ago and has seen it all. While I don’t have 40 years of programming under my belt, I do have 16 years in programming, QA, release engineering, and management, and everything Lars wrote rings true to me. I’d encourage everyone to give it a read!

Here are my favorite takeaways:

  • Take care of yourself, or else you’re no good to others.
  • Useful software is too big to create alone, so your most important skill is the ability to collaborate.
  • Write caveman code anyone can understand, unless complexity can be justified by measurably and consistently better performance.
  • Do work in small chunks, and repeat.
  • Diversity of perspective is important, or else you’ll end up accidentally making something that only works for a narrow slice of people.
  • Know who the intended user is, and try to see things from their point of view.
  • Developing software is political. Deal with it.
  • Learn to write, and write stuff down.

But do check out the whole thing!