Subject: Re: Kent Beck's talk
From: Adam Turoff <>
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2004 14:20:37 -0400

On Tue, Aug 03, 2004 at 11:54:49AM -0700, David Ascher wrote:
> It struck me as strange that Kent was looking primarily (it seemed) for a 
> 'developer-as-artist' model rather than a 'developer-as-entrepreneur' 
> model, given his clear (and understandable!) need to pay for tuition. 

Hm.  If Kent were looking for developer-as-artist, the talk would have
been over before it began.  He sounded like he backed into that model
because paying employees to work on open source makes no economic sense
(in his estimation).

Kent said on more than one occasion that he was looking for a "whole
job" that would let him be a "whole person".  I take that to mean that
working on JUnit is incompatible with his desire to pull a steady
paycheck for working a regular 40 hour workweek on a project like JUnit.  

There is no economic incentive for DeMediciCorp to be munificent and pay
someone like Kent to work on some open source project like JUnit.  Which
is especially weird, since there is economic value to be gained from
JUnit itself.  It'd be nice to be the DeMedici tester-in-residence,
but only because there's no value in paying a programmer to work on
JUnit just to turn around and give it away.

The most important point I got from the talk was that something is
_fundementally_ wrong here.  It could be reality, our model of reality,
or Kent's grip on reality.  Personally, I think Kent is on to something.
Fifteen years ago, if you built a better lint, programmers would be
happy to pay an hour's wages for the tool, enough so that you could make
a living and work on it full time for years to come.  

That's not true anymore.

-- Adam