About Random Tweakers
Who are the Random Tweakers?
Random Tweakers are a new open-source startup, that plans for nothing short of world-domination. Our motto is:
Random Tweakers - Making the Wheel Rounder
As such our plans are to work on innovative open-source software, and be successful by providing our employees with the Perfect Info-Tech Workplace, where they'll create superb values.
The rest of this page will explain our philosophy and what we plan to do next.
Back to Basics
So when we discuss philosophy - where do we start? Obviously with what we as human beings want. According to Artistotle in Nicomachean Ethics, there are two primary things humans want:
- Happiness. (Or Pleasure)
What we need to live is common: we need to drink, we need to eat, etc. On the other hand, what makes us happy varies from human to human. Different humans want different things. But it is our job as software developers to make sure that when our users interact with our software, they will be very happy. And it is our belief that unless we find pleasure in working and collaborating on the software, we cannot effectively make such a software.
Some Positive Values that Make Us Happy
In order to be happy, most humans want freedom: from the freedom to choose their friends and loved ones, to the freedom to do what they like to do instead of what other people tell them they have to do, to the political freedom from oppression, to the freedom to travel and work wherever they want, to the freedom to hold and express their own opinions. A person who's completely non-free will be miserable. A person who's free to do what he wants, on the other hand (if for example he's rich), will most likely feel very happy most of the time.
So, something else we say is that:
Happiness Requires Freedom.
Freedom is not enough. Even the most free of men still interact with other people, still care about others and has to deal with them. What is the best strategy to do that? The best strategy to that, has been termed "Ethics" or "Morality". There is nothing mystical or religious about it. Here's a good summary of Ethics as we see it:
First, do not harm.
Indeed, it doesn't matter how much you produce, as long as you don't harm yourself and others regularly and intetionally - you're doing fine. It doesn't matter if you're a factory worker or a genius - you're still a good person.
Honesty and Openness
What is the best way to communicate, though? There are several famous maxims about it:
- Honesty is the Best Policy.
- The Truth Shall Set You Free.
- I Know that I Do Not Know
- A wiseman can learn from a fool much more than a fool can ever learn from a wiseman.
- Doubt is not the anti-thesis of faith. It is an element of faith.
A person who is unable to tell others about what he thinks, how he feels, what bothers him, or tell them how he thinks they should improve, will feel resentful, trapped, unhappy and even clinically depressed. That's why it is important to be honest and sincere: tell people how you feel, tell them what you think about them (both positive and negative), don't have dogma and accept nothing as the "absolute truth". This is the path to self-esteem, and to enlightenment.
(Obviously, we don't mean one should not be tactful, or keep a lot of his private thoughts or desires to himself or out of the reach of the public, or be unnecessarily rude or completely unfriendly. But one should still be honest and sincere.)
Obviously even when you're perfectly happy, and ethical and honest, you'll likely find something missing. An ambitious human often needs growth. He wishes to continuously take greater and greater challenges, become happier as time goes by, make new friends, learn more and more, acquire new skills, become wiser and/or more intelligent, etc.
The opposite of growth is death. All people with a living psyche, are growing, even if they appear to not achieve too much "greatness". We seek people with a living growth.
So What does it Have to do with Software?
So what does it have to do with software. Several facts in fact:
Freedom implies software freedom. And honesty and openness implies its openness. We are fanatical on both.
In order to make a person happy, a software should be good and high-quality. There are many elements a software vendor can get wrong in a software, and we intend to eventually eliminate most or even all of them.
We believe that openness and freedom, while not absolutely necessary, greatly facilitate making a software high-quality, and are things we can't do without.
We believe that people are smart and capable. They can change. They can learn new skills. They can grow. So we're not trying to dumb down our software. It doesn't mean we don't believe in making it "user-friendly" and "intuitive" - i.e: having good usability. On the contrary, such things will make it easier and less frustrating for both experts and ordinary users to use.
However, we still think that people want us and our software to treat them as intelligent people.
So which Licence Are You Going to Use?
Until further notice, our policy would be to be fanatic to release our software under the free-est, most open and least restrictive terms: the Public Domain. As far as our software is concerned, this implies MIT X11 Licence (from now on also the X11L).
Why the X11 Licence and not the GPL? That's because we are firm believers in the 1st Ferengi Rule of Acquisition:
Greed is Eternal
We are greedy. But we're not greedy for money alone, and feel that our time is much more important. Furthermore we greedily want everyone in the world to use our software.
If our software was GPLed, then people will have to ask us: "Can we link against your software?" or "Can we change its licence?". To say nothing of using our code in many situations where there are more legal and political hassles. We don't want that! If you want to use our code in any way you want, don't ask us - Just Do It!
Some companies distribute libraries under the GPL or a similar licence. Prime examples for this are Qt by TrollTech (now part of Nokia), and Berkeley DB by Sleepy Cat software (now part of Oracle Corp.). What they do is allow free software to use the library, and charge money for exempting such products if one does not wish to make their code open-source.
This is a fine and respectful business model. However, it is not our cup of tea. We will find other ways to make money than by GPLing the product, and if not, we'll at least have fun working on good and usable free software.
So what are you going to work on?
It is our belief that ideas are cheap, and that people tend to have them at roughly the same time, and that one should not fear his ideas to be stolen and abused. If someone materialises an idea before us, we can always join him, and we're not possessive.
So for posterity, here are some of our ideas for future projects:
Qantor (short for "Qantor ain't no TeX/troff - oh really!") - a post-modern typesetting system to provide a saner alternative to TeX and LaTeX (and other typesetting systems).
libeatline - a BSDLed alternative to GNU Readline, that will eventually also overcome some of its philosophical limitations.
Winapt - package management for Microsoft Windows.
A better Web-based email system, because even GMail is not too good..
Note that we're likely to provide paid hosting for a service of it, despite the fact our client will be free for other users to install, and for competing services to provide data.
Fork of the GIMP (= GNU Image Manipulation Program) Community. Not the program itself, but how it is managed, and how the developers interact with the users.
Tucan - a cross-language bridge for high-level Virtual Machines that will allow code from one language to be used by other languages.
Unixdoc - an Integrated Offline and Online Documentation Framework. See the original idea page.
The Yonathan Job Board - Yonathan will be a new and actually usable and fun job board for hiring freelancers. See the current documentation for more information.
Fortunes Mania - a quotes (or fortune-cookies) syndication and exchange web-site.
Peque - short for "Personal Questing Engine" - a vertical engine for computerised adventure games that will allow building more and more sophisticated games from the same source. Part of our vision is to also set up "PQAN - the Personal Questing Archive Network" which will contain re-usable code and media for such games.
We neither subscribe to the "Not-Invented-Here" syndrome, nor are mortally against it. Re-using existing code, or implementing something yourself is a decision that is dependent on the circumstances. If we can use an existing code as a starting point, we probably will (in accordance with the Cathedral and the Bazaar, but we may still end up starting from a fresh page.
Why the Name?
The original idea for a name was "Random Hacks' Random Hackers" or RHRH for short, after the computer software enthusiasts (and not necessarily computer intruders) called "Hackers". But this was:
- Too easily confused with computer intruders.
- Too presumptious as a hacker or a hack is often a brilliant creator or creation.
So we thought of saying "Random Tweakers" instead. "Tweakers" is not only unambigious, but it's also more self-depracating, which is cute and works for us.
The reason we have the random-tweakers domain is because we find concatentating English words together without separators obnoxious and hard to read, and we'd like to practice what we preach.