Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Community and Responsibility

Rails is a great technology, but great technologies don’t succeed on their own. The recent dustup in the Rails/Ruby Community unsettles me greatly. Beyond the misogynistic undertones, which are terrible, I fear a pattern is starting to emerge.

Over the last few years, there has been:
The DHH Fuck You presentation

The Security through obscurity incident
Obie Fernandez Java Sucks Ass

Now the response (1,2) to Matt Aimonetti debacle

Though not Rails specific, the Vlad the Deployer people attacked Capistrano when they came out. Capistrano? Jamis Buck? I don’t know the guy, but from the hard work, excellent projects, and good advice he offers, why attack him or his work.

When seeing DHH’s response to the flap, my though wasn’t "Oh no." It was "Oh No, not again."  This is all off the top of my head.  

The Rails Community is not just DHH and the Core, or the Illuminati, there are lots of in the trenches coders and this crap cuts us off at the knees. I work in a heterogeneous technology environment (a university to be specific) and how can I justify using Rails for a project if a manager gets whiff of Mr. Aimonettis presentation or any of these other incidents. Unlike pure IT environments, there are women here who have earned power and will out of hand dismiss Rails. So this response by DHH is a double Fuck You. First to people who disagree with the misoginistic undertones in Mr. Aimonetti presentation and second to people who still struggle to justify a technology choice that makes them happy.

To sell a Rails project I now have to hope the managment doesn’t read Reddit or Digg. Because this isn’t occurring in someone’s table at the bar, it’s out there for everyone to see.  God forbid I have to compete with someone using a stack where there isn't this churlishness, and they're willing to bring it up.  To lay people, they have two technology experts adovating competing technology which do almost the same thing.  But associated with 1 technology  are profanity and misogony.  I wonder which will get the nod?

Django is pretty powerful technology as well. It started around the same time, perhaps someone more conversant in both can point me to the corresponding social gaffes in that community. A quick Google search couldn’t reveal anything, but that may be my limitation.

Rails is no longer that far ahead that you can make an argument that it’s the only well constructed MVC web application stack in town. Merb was hot on its heels in Ruby and there are lots of other languages. There will be other Merbs, and not just in Ruby people. Why push people away? Why piss them off when you don’t have too. Rails, as a tool, is no longer dealing from a weak hand. Stop acting like petulant teenagers.  

The Rails community is built primarily around code, do we want to build it around social exclusions as well?  What does that net except that people who are only interested in good code go else where.  It's an opportunity cost with little gain.  You want to be edgy, be edgy in your code. That is the real reason Rails stood out in the first place.