Things I Learnt The Hard Way - Intro

2 minute read Published: 2019-06-18

"Things I Learnt The Hard Way (In 30 Years of Software Development)" started as a simple sequence of toots (the same as "tweets", on Mastodon when I was thinking about a new presentation I could do.

But why "a new presentation"?

I go around my state with a group called "Tchelinux": We usually go to universities and talk to people starting uni, explaining things about free/libre software and sometimes telling people about things they wouldn't normally see in the uni curriculum.

One thing that annoys me is that there are very few presentations about "when things go wrong". All the presentations show prototypes or tell the good stuff, and hide all the wrong things that could happen1. Obviously, after working 30 years in the field of software development, I saw my fair share of things going wrong -- sometimes in unimaginable piles of crap -- and I thought "maybe that's something people would like to hear".

(And, to be completely honest, some of those piles of crap were my own fault.)

And that's when the toot sequence started. Just before I noticed, I spent the whole day just posting this kind of stuff (fortunately, my pile of things in the "incoming" folder was a bit empty at the time) and it had 30 points, plus addenda and a few explanation points. That's when I decided to group all them in a single post.

(Actually, I'm lying: Someone mentioned on Functional Café that I should make a blog post for making it easier to read.)

All I thought when I grouped everything in a post was "this will make things easier for the people following the thread on Mastodon". But then the post appeared on Reddit. And Twitter. And HackerNews. And YCombinator. And none of those where mine.

But here is the thing: Each point was limited by the toot size, which is 500 characters. Sometimes that's not enough to expand the point, explain it properly and add some examples.

And that's how the idea to write this "book" came to life.

One thing you must keep in mind here: These are my options. I understand that not everything is so black and white as put here, and some people's experiences may not match things here. Also, you get a bit cynical about technology after 30 years. So... thread carefully, 'cause here be dragons.


Yup, I'm guilty of that too.

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