Be careful what you code

James Gosling got in trouble with one John Mensch recently, because Mr. Gosling hacked together an RSS reader (Juicy News Network) one weekend. Oh the nerve!

John is disappointed because James whacked the code together and put it up as open source software when plenty of other open source feed readers already exist. John feels that as someone with a high priority in the world of code — moreover someone who has expressed support for open source — James should have pointed to a pre-existing solution rather than code his own (needless to say, John is author of such a beast: HotSheet).

Now, is it just me, or is this really nit-picking about nothing? Why can’t a programmer code whatever he or she wants, under whatever license he or she wants, at any time? The implication here is that one should scour the open source repositories for prior work before having the temerity to start programming something off one’s own bat. What happened to fun? To learning? To free choice? Ridiculous.


  1. While it is easy to get riled up at John Mensch, who sounds like a real prick, there is one grain of truth in what he says. While it certainly is anybody's right to go hack together anything they want, it is also somewhat difficult when looking at Open Source archives to tell what is hacked together in a weekend and what is long and well thought out, especially if a "name" is associated with the hack job. I'm not sure what the answer to that is, unless it is a rating system, but it is a problem.Ben Langhinrichs#
  2. If I were James Gosling my reply would have been "John who?" :-)Colin Pretorius#
  3. LOL that was some good reading. Boy he was stamping his feet.

    I did more work on my thingy and here this guy writes one in a weekend and outshines me- WAAA!

    All those responses were pretty hilarious too.Tom Nichols#
  4. The Internet can be quite a cruel place. I sure don't agree with the man's sentiments, but I can't help but feel a bit sorry for him. There are probably thousands of bloggers saying daft or off-colour things daily - to be one of the few called to task for it such a decisive manner must be rather an unenviable position ;-)Colin Pretorius#

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