I’ve added Paul Robinson to my aggregator. (Funnily enough, I only found him when he announced he was going to stop reading my blog regularly.) Paul’s a coder and I don’t run into many of them socially, and it’s interesting to get his craftsman’s perspective on his work.
He said this recently which I liked:
Strangely, some of the best code I’ve ever seen out there is open source, which feels counter-intuitive – it’s a bunch of people doing hobby code, not something they are being paid to produce. I think it’s because there is no deadline with open source that makes it better. It has been said that programmers work on open source projects in the evening because it’s relaxing. Without the deadlines, pressures and insistence things are done a certain way, developers can revel in the intellectual nature of development. As a result, they take the time to unit test, to comment, to document to re-factor properly.
This reminds me of my speculation that the net is allowing us organise around our passions, rather than trying fit our passions around organisations. It makes complete sense to me that work done for its own satisfaction, outside the hamster wheel of deadlines and pavlovian rewards, is going to be better. That’s part of the genius of Linux.