|FROM ||Ruben Safir
|SUBJECT ||Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Re: GNU education
|On 01/08/2015 08:48 PM, Rick Moen wrote:
> On Thu, Jan 8, 2015 at 3:59 PM, Richard Stallman wrote:
>> The point is good, but it has quite a few typos that you should fix.
> It does, indeed. Ruben, if you would like me to copyedit that piece,
> and send you the diff, I would be glad to do so. Just please ask, and
> I'll do that.
>> angel capital?
> I actually thought the notion of angle capital was delightfully
> innovative. Also, Ruben, I'm pretty sure the idiom is 'angel-investor
>> Is that Objective C?
> I'm pretty sure Ruben did indeed mean to refer to Objective C. Ruben,
> the only semi-traditional abbreviated form of that proper noun is
> ObjC, but you would be best advised to use the full named.
> By the way, Richard, the e-mail address I'm currently writing to you
> from is a temporary expedient, until I get my server rebuilt.
Actually, if you do have time. If not, I will try to get another set of
eyes from our locals...
I'm relaunching the NYLXS Journal on March 1st and I think I will
recommend this peice in the Intro of the journal.
It Is Just Not That Easy
Jan 4, 2015
The New Dot Com Boom:
I was in San Francisco for a Pharmacy Conference about a year ago when I
noticed a new IT bubble in full gear. Oh, we've seen this before. The
Saint Francis Hotel was packed with young hotties in their
Mercedes-Benz, flush with a new generation of angle capital. Now, almost
overnight, 8 month wonder programs are springing up all around NYC and
the bubble has reached the east coast, full throttle. It all is so
dizzying that it makes me look up to see if the twin towers are still
standing. Alas, they are not and these young kids really think they have
reinvented the wheel. I'm reading an article that tells me that people
interested in IT today have more venues than ever to learn from. Is this
No, it is ignorance and inexperience being passed off as Jounralism by
kids who may have never actually picked up a real news paper in their
lives. This is not a generation of innovation. This is a generation that
is so entraped they can't even see how deeply absorbed by marketing that
they have become. After this last recession, BLINK was all the rage
where Malcolm Gladwell had to teach us that it takes a few thousand
hours to master any skill, and god knows that programming and running
computer systems is a huge skill.
Well we have to go through this again? It looks like it.
It is unfortunate that one "reporter" can conclude that the
opportunities to learn computer literacy and sciences has increased over
the last few years. The opportunity has been available broadly and
freely for decades now. In fact, the programs that you underline here,
which are company produced, purchased and controlled platforms, are not
helping anyone to better understand coding or Comp Sci principles. They
are likely doing the opposite, obfuscating programming principles and
narrowing coding options. The real opening for young people to learn to
program began with and continues to be the GNU Free Software program.
GNU and Linux is the largest repository of freely available IT knowledge
and educational material ever prodcued by man. It is the backbone of
computer education and has opened the door for individuals to learn
since its inception. From its early adoption and on until today, it has
not only empowered the general population through information access, it
has spurred communities, and has even raised the standards of living for
3rd world nations by giving them a leg up in the high tech field through
sharing. Free Software, documentation and local community are the
triumphant of computer science education for the empowered.
Today, however, there are fewer locally organized groups to support
learning and hacking, and things are getting worse. The first thing
people need to do in order to get better educated is put down your smart
phone. Construction of an "app" in three days does not constitute any
measure of technological knowledge. It actually means someone has been
duped and is now a proudly dependent on very limited commercial toolkit.
Real IT education requires much more work. It is the Real Deal. Real
Math. Real Science. The Linux kernel, which was launched by a 21 year
old programmer from Europe, contains as of 2013, with the 3.10 release
15,803,499 lines of code. Yeah that didn't happen in 3 days or ever a
week. It didn't happen with the help of Apple or Microsoft or Sun or
Unisys. In fact, it was the reverse. These companies, maybe all
companies, now rely on the infrastructure of GNU and Free Software, in
order to churn out profits, often just repackaging old ideas to a new
clientel on a new platform.
While one can learn to be a productive coder with TUTELAGE, in a few
years of hard work and study. You can't dispense with the tutelage, and
you can't dispense with the practice and the work and you can not
dispense with a community. This is where your local user groups step in
and provide support. They also provide you with a measuring stick to
judge your own capabilities. This can not happen surrounding yourself
with peers and working with companies that want to exploit youthful
enthusiasm. Unfortunately, user groups are all but dieing as their
membership grow older with and gain private responsibilities. It doesn't
help that you can't get the kids to dig their heads out of their smart
As an example, a recent presentation at a local University for a
computer group included "programming" flappy bird through object C. in
one hour or less. They showed how to add some basic function code to an
existing code base, and to press a button and compile it, and then
flappy bird flaps. That was it, they learned Object C?
That's what they were told, if not outright, then as an implied message.
They were awash in a glow of accomplishment. No. They didn't learn a
damn thing but they got an excellent pitch to join a private coding
school with "ties to start up entrepreneurial investors". The real
documentation to learn ObjectC, however, IS available for free on line
and has a diverse community of developers and users, supported by the
GNU project. There is that word again, COMMUNITY and GNU. This is the
real Object C. In order to learn it, one starts with gnustep
http://www.gnustep.org/develop... Here is the core manual with 148
pages, i think, or documentation of the objectC and gnustep core.
http://www.gnustep.org/resourc... This is the base API
http://www.gnustep.org/resourc... With the development of "apps", there
is a lot of renewed interest in ObjectC and GNUstep. But there is no
shortcuts to deep knowledge. Trust me, this current gold rush for IT
coders is not going to last long. There will be a crash, just like there
was after the dotcom boom and a dotcom crash.
If you expect to remain working in IT for 40 years, you are actually
going to have to learn something. You are going to need a good
background in C, C++, program design, Operating Systems, Systems
Security, Assembler, Architecture, and essential related math skills. A
background in LISP, Lamda Calculus, and relational theory can't hurt either.
The threat to your education is the very companies that want to exploit
young people today. They are trying to close off the access to tools and
documentation, ONCE AGAIN. Before the GNU project and Linux took root,
you have no idea how hard it was to get tools, education for comp sci,
and working software. ObjectC, for example,is threatened to be partially
closed by future apple development by skirting GNU copyright protections
for privatized development using the CLANG compiler, instead of GCC.
Instead of having it's development protected by the GPL, it will be
allocated according to the desires of Apple. Apple is not your friend.
Likewise, Oracle has moved the JAVA RTE to it's private sphere. These
"people" want to ensnare everyone. Will this generation coming be smart
enough to identify the threat to their own growth, empowerment and
education. Do you have a Richard Stallman among you. I don't think so.
Get your head out of the clouds, get your behind to a computer club and
be prepared to work. To me it looks bleak. too much candy crush, not
enough hard work and understanding.
Ruben Safir NYLXS