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Last post Author Topic: Licensing Developers?  (Read 6577 times)

Renegade

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Licensing Developers?
« on: August 11, 2013, 11:12:11 PM »
Just musing here, but I'm kind of curious as to when developers will need to have a license to write code. Given the way things are, it kind of seems inevitable. The NSA is laying off 90% of their sysadmins, which tells you a bit, or hints at a few things. At a minimum it says that sysadmins have a lot of power.

A lot of occupations require licenses. Here are a few:

  • Lawyers
  • Doctors
  • Teachers
  • Makeup artists
  • Security guards
  • House painters
  • Florists (well, only in Louisiana)
  • Accountants
  • Home theater installers
  • Dishwasher installers
  • Barbers
  • Manicurists
  • Travel guides
  • Bartenders
  • Locksmiths
  • Tree trimmers
  • Taxi drivers

And many other professions are all highly regulated and require licenses, so why not require regulation and licensing for developers? Seems like a(n) (un)natural step.

A recent story from Techdirt outlines how Sen. Lindsay Graham wants to strip bloggers of their first amendment rights:

http://www.techdirt....ent-protection.shtml

Quote
Senator Lindsey Graham Apparently Not Sure If Bloggers Deserve 'First Amendment Protection'

So if bloggers don't have a right to free speech, why should developers?

And if arranging flowers is dangerous enough to require licensing, well, I think that software development certainly qualifies.

If you think about it, it would be fantastic for large software houses. They wouldn't have to compete with small developers. They could lobby to have all kinds of regulations and fees that would preclude small developers from writing and distributing software. It would boost the value of their stocks and make their share holders very happy.

No more indie-games and an instant double-digit surge in stock prices for EA and other big companies.

Microsoft and Apple could stand to benefit. Imagine if all GPL software were banned from use in government. MS, Apple, Google, Oracle, etc., would have an instant sales bonanza. They could hike prices even.

They could also then afford to hire those small developers even cheaper as they could claim that it was expensive to train and license them in order to comply with regulations.

But I don't know how long it will take.

5 years?
10 years?
More?

I'm having a hard time seeing a down-side here. ;)
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Vurbal

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Re: Licensing Developers?
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2013, 12:31:33 AM »
Typically the kind of regulation you're describing doesn't happen as a result of government overreach on their own behalf, but rather as a protectionism for some industry to limit competition. That's not because there aren't advocates for that kind of overreach for its own sake. Obviously there always are. It's simply because it's usually easier to rally the public behind such a naked power grab.

OTOH if you can confuse the issue enough to make even a specious public safety argument your chances of controlling the debate increase exponentially.
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I recommend reading through my Bio before responding to any of my posts. It could save both of us a lot of time and frustration.

Renegade

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Re: Licensing Developers?
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2013, 01:07:44 AM »
OTOH if you can confuse the issue enough to make even a specious public safety argument your chances of controlling the debate increase exponentially.

Hey! Computers are responsible for traffic lights and software is used in cars! This *IS* a safety issue!

How many people have died due to bugs in GPS software leading them astray and stranded in the middle of nowhere without food and water!

SOFTWARE BUGS KILL!

If we can save just 1 life, it's worth spending the $100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.00 it takes to make sure that we have competent developers that NEVER create buggy software and NEVER put anyone's life in jeopardy.

THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

You're so callous and heartless!

;)
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wraith808

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Re: Licensing Developers?
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2013, 09:47:21 AM »
Just musing here, but I'm kind of curious as to when developers will need to have a license to write code.

You already do to an extent under certain circumstances.  When working for a company, you don't- it's the company that assumes the risk.  But once you you're not 1040, you have to have a whole lot of things that while not really a license, they are, in effect, the same sort of thing- an assurance that you are responsible for your code.

Think about it:
Liability Insurance
Escrowed Code
W-9

And having been on both sides of the equation, I can tell you that those three things are a big part of the business.

Renegade

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Re: Licensing Developers?
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2013, 10:31:59 AM »
"to an extent"?

"under certain circumstances"?

Pfft... Guess we know wraith isn't thinking of the children!

Baby killer!
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wraith808

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Re: Licensing Developers?
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2013, 10:58:21 AM »
 :P

But taking it to a serious level... do you know what you have to go through in order to get liability insurance for a software developer?  And how much it costs at the levels they want you to be insured?

And what if you're an independent developer trying to get in with a company- any company is going to either want you to (a) sign your source away, or (b) escrow it.  Signing your source away is what most of them do... because the costs for escrow are ridiculous.  For a while I worked for a lawyer that handled those types of cases, and it got to the point that I had too much business to actually do any programming... to do a thorough validation of the code going into escrow takes a good amount of time.  Now, I was getting paid for it (in fact, more than if I was actually doing the work), but it was draining work... not the first time I walked away from a fat paycheck because I didn't want to do the work.

Renegade

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Re: Licensing Developers?
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2013, 11:04:37 AM »
But taking it to a serious level... do you know what you have to go through in order to get liability insurance for a software developer?  And how much it costs at the levels they want you to be insured?

That's all fine and dandy, but it's still voluntary. Companies/developers are under no legal obligation. It's all CYA there. You could write the same code and sell it without warranty or have it insured. This is a pretty low standard.

Just how many children need to die before software gets properly regulated and licensed?  >:(

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Stoic Joker

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Re: Licensing Developers?
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2013, 11:47:39 AM »
Just how many children need to die before software gets properly regulated and licensed?

Careful there Ren ... Sure we know you're just kidding, but if the wrong blogger finds that on a things to mist-up and whine about Google search...a palpitating heartstring opening like that we could leave us faced with 6,000,000 signatures on a petition by Thursday.

wraith808

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Re: Licensing Developers?
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2013, 12:06:06 PM »
^ This.  And then, instead of your tongue being in your cheek, it will be tasting crap from someone else's ... well, you get the idea  ;D

Renegade

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Re: Licensing Developers?
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2013, 12:14:27 PM »
Just how many children need to die before software gets properly regulated and licensed?

Careful there Ren ... Sure we know you're just kidding, but if the wrong blogger finds that on a things to mist-up and whine about Google search...a palpitating heartstring opening like that we could leave us faced with 6,000,000 signatures on a petition by Thursday.

Baby killer! :P ;)

(It's going to happen sooner or later. Better that it happen now while people have the capacity to rage against the machine than later when they don't.)

Ooops! Did I say that? No! I mean, dammit! You baby murdering fascists need to get in line and help stop the slaughter!

Every time you find a bug, some poor little kid is permanently maimed and will never walk or paint or scream uncontrollably in the middle of the supermarket again!

Through proper regulation set up by a panel of experts chosen by well-informed senators, congressmen, and ministers to parliament, we can devise protocols that elevate the art of software design to something more fitting, suitable, and most importantly, safe for all citizens.

That panel of experts can recruit teams of quality engineers to oversee the work of each and every properly and legally regulated developer.

Phase 2 could further extend control so that no developer worked on the same problem and that the same solution to any problem was reused by each and every developer. This would further ensure perfect consistency in all applications with no variation. Users would know what to expect, and everything would work perfectly forever and always.

How could this not be a perfect computing experience for everyone?

;)
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Tinman57

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Re: Licensing Developers?
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2013, 05:05:59 PM »

  Just think of all the hospital equipment that's computer controlled.  The machines and software already have to pass the FDA before it can be used in an actual setting.  So it's already regulated in the medical field.....

Edvard

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Re: Licensing Developers?
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2013, 11:08:55 PM »
 Just think of all the hospital equipment that's computer controlled.  The machines and software already have to pass the FDA before it can be used in an actual setting.  So it's already regulated in the medical field.....

Whoooooaaa there, let me tell you something... medical equipment, hardware and software, is held to several orders of magnitude above 'normal' standards.  To be approved for medical uses, the equipment and software that may run in it has to not fail. Period. Ever.  It is SERIOUS business.  Are you willing to take on that level of responsibility?  If any coder would require a license to do business, it would probably be those in the medical equipment field.  But as has been mentioned before, the employer usually takes care of that.   I don't have any hard numbers or data, just anecdotal talk around the electronic hobbyist circles.  

As far as 'license to code' goes, I think it may happen, but only in certain markets, and GPL/Open/Free/Libre software will always be around as long as the internet is not completely locked down.  I believe restrictions on dissemination of information over the internet may be more prevalent as the years go by, simply through creeping regulation, but like some smart scientist said, the internet is built to route around errors, and control/suppression/censoring counts as an error in the current internet mindset and operation.
So, there is hope... for a little while :)

*EDIT* It was John Gilmore -- "The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it."
« Last Edit: August 12, 2013, 11:14:14 PM by Edvard »

Renegade

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Re: Licensing Developers?
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2013, 11:44:04 PM »
  Just think of all the hospital equipment that's computer controlled.  The machines and software already have to pass the FDA before it can be used in an actual setting.  So it's already regulated in the medical field.....

Whoooooaaa there, let me tell you something... medical equipment, hardware and software, is held to several orders of magnitude above 'normal' standards.  To be approved for medical uses, the equipment and software that may run in it has to not fail. Period. Ever.  It is SERIOUS business.  Are you willing to take on that level of responsibility?  If any coder would require a license to do business, it would probably be those in the medical equipment field.  But as has been mentioned before, the employer usually takes care of that.   I don't have any hard numbers or data, just anecdotal talk around the electronic hobbyist circles. 

But wouldn't society benefit if we extended decent standards like that to EVERYTHING?

IIRC NASA has something like 50,000 words or pages (don't remember exactly, but it's 50k something or similar) of documentation per line of code for the space shuttle.

Can you possibly imagine just how much better the Internet would be if every web site were held to that standard?

What about video cards and hardware? No more kernel panics. You'd never lose any data again. And neither would the NSA, so the terrorists wouldn't win!

As far as 'license to code' goes, I think it may happen, but only in certain markets, and GPL/Open/Free/Libre software will always be around as long as the internet is not completely locked down. 

But isn't GPL/Open/Free/Libre software really just a part of the whole problem? Letting just "anyone" write software? No quality controls? No supervision? No central planning? Constant duplicated efforts? The same problem being solved over and over again? Conflicting licenses like the ASL and GPL? These anonymous coders could be terrorists! How do we know unless they're identified, licensed, and regulated?


I believe restrictions on dissemination of information over the internet may be more prevalent as the years go by, simply through creeping regulation, but like some smart scientist said, the internet is built to route around errors, and control/suppression/censoring counts as an error in the current internet mindset and operation.

But what about the terrorists and cyber-criminals? They use the Internet without restriction to wreak their havoc on society. Wouldn't it serve the greater good if we did away with all what you call "errors"? We'd all be safer in the end.

If we can't have complete control and safety right now, can't we at least agree to compromise a bit and have just a little bit more regulation? Perhaps not licensing every coder immediately, but couldn't we start with something?

Like restaurants? I know a fellow who writes software for restaurants and he's neither licensed nor regulated. We're talking about food and nutrition here. Kids eat at restaurants! Think of the children! Stricter standards on software used in restaurants would improve quality and safety, and be a net benefit to the greater good.


So, there is hope... for a little while :)

You're starting to sound like another baby killer!  >:(

(Are we having fun yet? ;D 8))
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Target

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Re: Licensing Developers?
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2013, 12:07:40 AM »
for those that don't know there's an election looming in Australia and I'm pretty sure Renegade is testing his platform on you guys

please, don't encourage him :'(

Renegade

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Re: Licensing Developers?
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2013, 12:37:11 AM »
for those that don't know there's an election looming in Australia and I'm pretty sure Renegade is testing his platform on you guys

please, don't encourage him :'(

I trust that I can count on your support, eh? ;)

If anyone wants to volunteer for my campaign, we still need more ballot-box stuffers. At the moment the other guys have more than we do, which is obviously not fair!
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Target

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Re: Licensing Developers?
« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2013, 12:48:37 AM »
If anyone wants to volunteer for my campaign, we still need more ballot-box stuffers. At the moment the other guys have more than we do, which is obviously not fair!

clearly they need to be better 'regulated' :huh:

and i'm behind you all the way... (and you know what that means in politics these days...)

Renegade

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Re: Licensing Developers?
« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2013, 12:56:55 AM »
If anyone wants to volunteer for my campaign, we still need more ballot-box stuffers. At the moment the other guys have more than we do, which is obviously not fair!

clearly they need to be better 'regulated' :huh:

We've already have proposed legislation on the floor to block the monopolistic behaviour of the ruling party from hiring any ballot-box stuffers. It is expected to pass. (Thankfully it expires before the next election though as we fully plan on seizing power so that we can properly regulate the out-of-control software industry.)

and i'm behind you all the way... (and you know what that means in politics these days...)

We fully welcome support from the LGBT community, and especially LGBT developers. :D
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Target

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Re: Licensing Developers?
« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2013, 01:09:22 AM »
We've already have proposed legislation on the floor to block the monopolistic behaviour of the ruling party from hiring any ballot-box stuffers. It is expected to pass. (Thankfully it expires before the next election though as we fully plan on seizing power so that we can properly regulate the out-of-control software industry.)

at which time a name change will be announced from Australia to Wadiya?

Renegade

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Re: Licensing Developers?
« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2013, 02:18:14 AM »
at which time a name change will be announced from Australia to Wadiya?

Meh. What's in a name? That which we call a kangaroo by any other name would taste as delicious!

But "Wadiya" does have a nice ring to it... ;)
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

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Stoic Joker

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Re: Licensing Developers?
« Reply #19 on: August 13, 2013, 06:48:25 AM »
Fine, if we're going to start regulating mythical threats, let's bring back the dangers of dandelion snorting campaign.

Renegade

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Re: Licensing Developers?
« Reply #20 on: August 13, 2013, 10:12:57 AM »
Fine, if we're going to start regulating mythical threats, let's bring back the dangers of dandelion snorting campaign.

Hey! Aren't dandelions already a schedule 1 restricted substance? If not, they should be!

And hey... don't you work in IT? Hmmm... Are you licensed? Do you follow proper regulations? Or are they just leaving the chaos and anarchy of the wild, wild west to you? Hmmm... I bet if you were properly regulated, you'd change your tone(r) pretty darn quick... ;)
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

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Stoic Joker

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Re: Licensing Developers?
« Reply #21 on: August 13, 2013, 11:52:21 AM »
And hey... don't you work in IT?

Define "Work".

Hmmm... Are you licensed?

To kill...yes.

Do you follow proper regulations?

My Rules ... I make them up!

Are they just leaving the chaos and anarchy of the wild, wild west to you?

Continue that line of questioning, and I'll counter sue you for leaking trade secrets.

Hmmm... I bet if you were properly regulated, you'd change your tone(r) pretty darn quick... ;)

It's not so much that I buck the system ... I just like to follow the rules that they forgot about. So, good luck with that...you could be the 847th person to fail at said task... :D

Renegade

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Re: Licensing Developers?
« Reply #22 on: August 13, 2013, 12:02:51 PM »
And hey... don't you work in IT?

Define "Work".

Hmmm... Are you licensed?

To kill...yes.

Do you follow proper regulations?

My Rules ... I make them up!

Are they just leaving the chaos and anarchy of the wild, wild west to you?

Continue that line of questioning, and I'll counter sue you for leaking trade secrets.

Hmmm... I bet if you were properly regulated, you'd change your tone(r) pretty darn quick... ;)

It's not so much that I buck the system ... I just like to follow the rules that they forgot about. So, good luck with that...you could be the 847th person to fail at said task... :D

HA! We have finally and definitively identified the BOFH! The evidence is inconceivable! :Thmbsup: (Does that word mean what I think it means?)
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

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wraith808

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Re: Licensing Developers?
« Reply #23 on: August 13, 2013, 03:36:42 PM »
^ Inconceivable!

inconceivable.jpg

Tinman57

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Re: Licensing Developers?
« Reply #24 on: August 13, 2013, 07:07:22 PM »
at which time a name change will be announced from Australia to Wadiya?

Meh. What's in a name? That which we call a kangaroo by any other name would taste as delicious!

But "Wadiya" does have a nice ring to it... ;)

  Wadiya mean it has a nice ring to it?   :P