An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of Ugliness of Software Tech

By Xah Lee. Date: .

a sinister thing from Google, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

a sinister thing from Google, Accelerated Mobile Pages. Accelerated Mobile Pages

i realize now, all tech is driven by money. It seems obvious when said. But, as programer nerd, that thought barely occurred. We think of tech as comp sci stuff, standards, design issues, etc.

now i seem to understand, programing tech, lang, protocols, etc, will never be clean. it is driven by money. Something must drive it. Pure geekdom go 1 mile, but hungry everybody make it go 10 thousand miles.

decades ago, the unix shell complexity makes one puke. That died off, replaced by perl ruby etc nice langs. now the web tech, is perhaps even more complex. Note, it's UNNECESSARILY so. All standards geeks love, are actually all shit, became that way because of $.

so, by this theory, that means, any nice tech/lang, when mainstream, will rot. so imagine, if haskell scheme became mainstream, it'll start to have standardization every year, more components, features, systems. after few, it'll be sheet.

but in each step, all programers will be cheering, for new version, feature, protocol, spec, etc. cuz ten thousands corps are putting billion dollars to convince you so. just like whatever js things you hear on the web today. maybe u not convinced, but young coders r.

it's not like all corps are colluding. Rather, each just try to make bread. Look at yourself. suppose you wrote a lib. of course you gonna promote it. you gonna say good things of the lang it's written in. It's all motivations together, makes this theory.

this reminds me of the epochal book An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. amazon The alternative, is centralized design, communism. But it'd be far worse. No money, no motivation, nobody does anything.

so i guess, i'd title this thread An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of elegance of programing language and software protocols.

but what about FSF stuff, e.g. emacs. Or academic Haskell, Scheme? or Linux? aren't they considered elegant? yet they are not result of money making from the masses?

i think, ① the little success they have, depends on big corp donations, or gov grants. ② in software, 1 single good programer can produce a good lang, protocol, etc. ③ actually, need to think about this much more. need exact definitions and what am trying to say.

there is important concept in Adam Smith Wealth Of Nation: invisible hand. i.e. each do something to try to get bread for himself, collectively, it makes nation wealthy. Now for software, it grows it, makes giant industry. Though, seems to do bad on elegance of design.


what about some specific examples?

Java, JavaScript, web cookies, canvas, and most of today's web dev stuff, all created explicitly for big $ reasons. (canvas from Apple for iphone gaming, ditching flash not invented there. n spurred the whole html5)

also, Google, Twitter, Facebook, all introduced non-standard html stuff. e.g. <meta name=viewport content="…"> nofollow, og:image

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