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The programmer as (starving) artist

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Discussions about code as poetry and how code and art differ from each other are not new, but the growing popularity of free software among both developers and users may make software developers more like artists than they have been in the past in one very important respect: A majority of programmers may end up writing code without getting paid directly for their work. Perhaps, before long, "starving programmer" will be as familiar a phrase as "starving artist" is today.
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The author seems to be under the delusion that programming compares to the likes of painting, poetry music. If anything it's closer to crafts like say carpentry, electronics, plumbing, etc...

This is a bit harsh but his commentary reads as someone making predictions of an ecosystem they only observe but aren't a part of. A number of the commenter's seem to have drawn that same conclusion.

Yea, but even in the "practical arts" of carpentry, electronics, and plumbing, you have millions of handymen and do-it-yourselfers working on myriad projects for home, friends, and community. The key is: with more and more free code available every year, why would I pay someone to "reinvent the same wheel" over and over? Stand on their shoulders and build something more, something better.

Well, the reason that you can't stand on someone's shoulders to build something better is because of the closed ecosystem of most for-profit programming shops.

Stoic Joker:
why would I pay someone to "reinvent the same wheel" over and over?-zridling (February 21, 2010, 10:57 AM)
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Because that's the only way you'll ever get a better wheel with a rubber tire instead of just the same old stone disk with a hole in it.


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