[Bloat] esr and sugarland: trying to remember the times when cerowrt was fun

Dave Taht dave.taht at gmail.com
Thu Mar 5 20:44:14 EST 2015

In trying to summon the energy to do another cerowrt release cycle:
motivating story: http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=4566

Sugar passed away last year, ( http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=5679 ) - but
what a great cat she was!


Every time I got really really kicked down on this project, eric
raymond would put me up in his basement for a couple days, or a week
or a month, he and cathy and I would rap, and play games like "power
grid", talk about everything outside of software, and do fun stuff.
And I cut 3 of the stable-ist versions of cerowrt from down there.

I did my best to put into play in the cerowrt and bufferbloat projects
the 19 ideas he long ago laid out here, after discussing the hows,
whys, and wheres with him.


I could write pages upon pages on how each of those rules applied and
worked out for us here.

There were many other lessons in the books, two lessons in particular,
not covered in the above link, and I can't remember which book the
were in, but basically they were: "The best people don't work for
you", and that a GREAT business model for the use of open source was
that "being open and collaborative gets things done faster - and thus
you win - BIG - on time to market. Time to market can mean
*everything*. "

That latter lesson a gawdawful number of companies have missed of late
in favor of keeping more patent attorneys employed.

I long have been after him to write a new book, with a title like
"Open Source'd Everything? A massively bemused retrospective..." -
because he A) did not get it entirely right in 1998 - not by a long
shot!, and B) a lot of things went weirdly wrong since, like
developers of critical infrastructure being reduced to living under
bridges - and C) I don't think he ever anticipated how people would
try to apply principles based on a software development study to life,
co-housing, art, hardware, etc to the extent they have.

... but! he'd rather write fiction now. I have to admit that his first
story was pretty darn good for a first effort... his "battlefield
lasers" piece was excellent and "the hot equations", (by Ken Burnside)
in this collection, killed off more SF tropes than you could shake a
stick at:


Excellent reading, throughout. I helped fix a plot flaw in "Sucker
Punch", which is the most I ever did for him directly... aside from
improve his uptime. If I can improve his sales, a bit, well, there's
the link above. Great collection of stories by various authors. Since
I have been in search of funny stuff to read, I also have to highly
recommend his "hackers dictionary".

Eric was also the guy that talked me into doing the bufferbloat world
tour, telling me it would take 3-5 years to get anywhere, and nobody
else could do it, he sure as hell wasn't going to do it - "been there
- done that" - and that "First they ignore you, then they laugh at
you, then they fight you, and then you win"...

and one time he also said, softly... "and then, unless you are
careful, you become a pariah."

But I did the tour anyway, but I think I don't need to do it anymore,
as enough stuff is rolling downhill now... and I want to focus on
fixing wifi, next.

Eric and Cathy and Sugar were a great help - and there is some mystic
quality to their basement for the development of good software! More
people should try to cut final releases of software from down there,
for sure.

Dave Täht
Let's make wifi fast, less jittery and reliable again!


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