From The Joel on Software Translation Project
My name is Shlomi Fish (or שלומי פיש in Hebrew) and I am an Israeli software developer, essayist, writer and a much less capable artist and mathematician. I maintain a personal web-site full of various stuff I created, and I concentrate links to other wikis I am active on on my English wikipedia user-page.
My Interest in Joel on Software
I first learnt of Joel on Software after Miguel de-Icaza posted a link to Joel's "UI Design for Programmers" on one of the GNOME desktop mailing lists. (back in the old GNOME 1.x days). Since then I've read and generally enjoyed most of Joel's articles, have subscribed to his feed, and translated some of his articles to Hebrew.
My interest in Joel on Software is due to the fact that he writes in a clear, accessible, amusing and witty way and gives a lot of good advice. I always take what Joel says with a grain of salt, and disagree with him on some points, but in my opinion his articles are still a good source of "wisdom", not-so-common common sense, and good insights, or just a good laugh.
A lot of people, especially many free software zealots dismiss Joel as a microsoftie or whatever, but like a wise man once said: "Wise men learn more from fools than fools from the wise.". If you're going to make criticise what Joel said out of him being a "Microsoftie" or due to his style or popularity or previous things he said or you think he did or whatever, don't be surprised if you're going to be just dismissed as an Ad hominem-making troll, and a downright "fool" in this case. I on the other hand could use all the good advice I can get my hands on, regardless of its source, and like I said, there are some things I consciously disagree from Joel.
Other Good Sources of Advice
Some software methods I'm also partial for, which you may wish to pursue:
- Eric S. Raymond - his "Cathedral and the Bazaar" series of essays is now considered a classic.
- Paul Graham - see his list of essays
- Damian Conway's book "Perl Best Practices" - a lot of it is applicable outside Perl.
- Extreme Programming
- Eric Sink
And risking touting my own horn I can refer you to:
- My Essays - not all are about computing and software, but many of them are.
- My Stories - also works of Philosophy, because Philosophy is an essential part of being a good writer.
I am a user, developer and advocate of open source/free software and open content/free content. I'm mostly using Mandriva Linux at home, using the Vim editor for most coding, Firefox as my main web-browser, and lots of other high-quality free software.
KDE 4.3.x has become incredibly slow here for some reason (KDE 3.5.x was so good and I still miss it), and I have a powerful set-up. I used IceWM for a long time, but then followed someone recommendation and am now using XFCE which is very fast here, and more usable than IceWM.
I'm doing most of my programming in Perl, C and GNU Bash, with Perl probably being most of my "serious", non throwaway code.
I love the Internet and the Web, but think they are ultimately means to an end and not ends in themselves. For example, when Paul Graham's Arc came out, I was not interested in its web scripting capabilities at all (which I admit were very hacky). I think there's still place in this world for GUI applications, for command-line applications, and for programmatic user-interfaces. With all due respect to the fast growth of the web, there are still many "niche" areas, where people who are knowledgeable in "legacy" technologies can earn a decent living despite the lack of hype and public visibility. Furthermore, in the wild wild world of the World Wide Web, it is easy to get lost in the crowd, or become confused from all the latest buzzwords, trends and technologies.