The ethical developer (in France)

author: Joe deSousa

Nowadays, it’s almost not a problem to find a job when you are a developer. I suppose it’s almost a worldwide statement.

In France, the job of developer is not well recognized yet compared to other countries. This has already been discussed many times.

One day I saw Rasmus Lerdorf, the creator of PHP in a conference. He said something great and powerful to French developers. But it was scary, I don’t know if it was due to language (he made his talk in English). He said something like “Please, use PHP to build great things that will help people”, nobody seems concerned at all…

So what happened there ?
We usually work in SSII | ESN | whatever that sells software engineers, in web agency, in IT department of big company or institution and in software company or something that sounds like start-up.

In a SSII we must be focused on the customer product, we have almost no choices for who we work for, neither for the project, do you ? In web agency it’s almost the same. So what can motivate a developer every days: the project, the framework used or the required quality (unit tests, design patterns, refactoring that prevent code legacy … ), the team ? In a software publisher we can also find pretty good project management (Scrum and agility things, Nerf’s fights, video games, ping-pong, jogging, etc.), tools for continuous integration and the freedom to build our own tools. Contributing to open source may be welcome some times. But the majority of the code we write is proprietary and I never heard a manager telling “our main project will be an open source software”.

We all know that. We have a pretty good salary, at least enough to live well. We are not juniors anymore. And we have family and time constraints related, may be. It’s pretty easy to change job before being bored. THAT’S A FUCKING CHANCE!

Is that enough ?

To my mind, no.

When we sign for a job we leave our intellectual property to the company that employs us. And so we write code to solve problems, to provide fun/LOL to people, to track people, to build a fucking innovative PaaS product that disrupts marketing for your B2C shit which is probably a copy of something from the other side of the Atlantic.

Well I was lying when I said we only write proprietary softwares, websites or webapps. Obviously in each categories I mentioned there are exceptions and this is the purpose of this post. We need more of those exceptions so it will become a standard to our requirements: more open-source projects, more projects that really solve problems, more projects that make life easier, more projects that protect environments, more projects that protect people’s freedom … no more bullshit.

So please, developers, we have great powers in our hands and so come great responsibilities, we should write code to solve problems not making new ones.

This was my ramblings, I had to write.
Please tell me what you are doing and if you are proud of it.