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Offset Bad Code, With Bad Code Offsets 279

An anonymous reader writes "Two weeks ago, The Daily WTF's Alex Papadimoulis announced Bad Code Offsets, a join venture between many big names in the software development community (including StackOverflow's Jeff Atwood and Jon Skeet and SourceGear's Eric Sink). The premise is that you can offset bad code by purchasing Bad Code Offsets (much in the same way a carbon-footprint is offset). The profits are donated to Free Software projects which work to eliminate bad code, such as the Apache Foundation and FreeBSD. The first cheques were sent out earlier today." Hopefully, they work better than carbon offsets, actually.
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Offset Bad Code, With Bad Code Offsets

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  • Deliberately bad? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Geoffrey.landis ( 926948 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @03:49PM (#30314976) Homepage
    Let me get this right-- you purchase this offset so that you can deliberately write bad code?


  • Re:Deliberately bad? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 03, 2009 @04:29PM (#30315584)

    Open source projects are often written by LOTS of different people as well. And many of them have bugs in each release. Do you think Microsoft doesn't have any sort of internal code and bug tracking system?

    The fact is, any software release has at least a handful of bugs, whether it's open source or not, and no matter who it was created by or how many people.

    Have any references/citations? Have you actually seen any of the Windows source code, and compared it to any open source projects? I've seen some pretty horrible looking code in large open source projects. And I've worked on close-source projects that had very good, tight code.

    Development quality is really about quality control, code reviews, testing, etc... it's about your development process. Any project, regardless of its source model or development team can use a good or poor development process.

  • by slim ( 1652 ) <john@hartnu p . net> on Thursday December 03, 2009 @04:31PM (#30315608) Homepage

    It seems like a lot of people don't get this.

    It's like a swear box. You know, in an attempt to get out of the habit of swearing, you put a dollar in box every time you swear. The contents of the box goes to charity.

    This is exactly the same, except that in this case the habit you're trying to get out of is releasing bad code.

    We all sneak out bad code from time to time - "it's ugly but it works; I can clean it up, or I can ship it and have an extra hour doing [insert recreation of choice]". The 'swear box' makes cleaning it up seem more attractive. And if you don't, a worthy cause benefits.

    The analogy to carbon offsets is pretty weak, but I guess it's wry humour of a sort.

  • by ryry ( 198300 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @04:51PM (#30315922) Homepage

    Richard G blasted into space last year [], and to offset the tons of jet fuel his spaceship burned, he purchased some carbon offsets. At a talk in Austin earlier this year, he made what I thought was an interesting point: carbon offsets might not work as effectively as planned, but they help get you in the habit of doing something about the problem. When/if we discover a better way, then you've already got the habit formed -- you just switch it to whatever this new method might be.

    I'm sure there are some flaws in that but it was an interesting take I hadn't heard before.

  • by jeremyp ( 130771 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @05:10PM (#30316210) Homepage Journal

    I'm sorry, but buying credits from a company that doesn't produce as much carbon emission as the government says it can is in no way actually helping the environment.

    Wrong. It gives people a financial incentive to reduce their carbon emissions if possible.

    If you merely tax or fine people, they will reduce their carbon emissions to the point where the cost of further reductions would outweigh the fines/taxes they'll have to pay. If they have the prospect of selling further reductions i.e. making money out of them, there is an incentive to make further investments to cut emissions below statutory levels.

    If you and I both manufacture widgets, but I invest to reduce carbon emissions below whatever limit is placed and you don't, under a tax / fining system I'd be bonkers to go below the limit, or even to the limit. If it costs me $20 to avoid a fine of $10 it'd be stupid.

    Under a carbon trading system, if I reduce my emissions below the limit, I can sell the credits to you so you can continue to emit the same levels of carbon. So the people who buy your high carbon widgets are subsidising the people who buy my low carbon widgets.

    I'd go so far as to say a properly constructed carbon trading system is the only way forward.

    By the way, there is a precedent. The US EPA introduced a trading system for sulphur dioxide emissions and apparently it worked like a charm.

  • Re:Deliberately bad? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 04, 2009 @07:51AM (#30322484)

    Sick and tired of the 'bonnet welded shut' crap.

    Cars are ALREADY 'closed source'. Or have you tried to reprogram the ecu and keep the A/C and auto shift points (unless you can actually drive, but DSG's are getting more common).

    True, you can fabricate, and reverse engineering is (mostly) simpler in the metal, but Its the same as replacing MS Office with Open Office... Just you try and get the source (CAD).

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev