News and announcements

The (Probably True) Plone News #3# A saving promotion

Written for Appy by Gaëtan Delannay on 2009-11-15

Flawinne, in the course of November

Gervais Pepe, a Plone developer working for a public administration in Belgium, has been declared "Red Code" by WoCoSuSS, the Worldwide Counsil for the Sustainability and Stability of the Society. An investigation has been conducted on Gervais after a private company denounced his "revolting, cupid and egocentric development practices".

Gervais was finishing several software projects for his employer before leaving him and starting a new life as self-employed. The informer, a company with more than 15 employees, preferred to remain anonymous. She was hired to continue Pepe's work. After several months devoted to analyzing the produced code and documentation, this company (called "COM" in the remainder of this article) was forced to admit their inability to do the job without exceeding, in a quite surrealist way, foreseen budget and planning (several years overrun were mentioned).

COM's complaint was based on the following charges: (1) code was totally undocumented; (2) projects were knowingly left unfinished for making the client dependent on Gervais' work as self-employed.

WocoSuSS' inquiry began two weeks ago. After a couple of hours, COM's initial charges against Mr Pepe were abandoned. Indeed, all projects were uploaded on a public forge, together with a detailed list of known bugs and feature requests. Moreover, they were all based on a framework published as free software on a website containing exhaustive documentation. But investigations led to even more appalling discoveries.

Words can hardly describe Mr Pepe's behaviour as developer. If we think in terms of required human resources, during the last 3 years, this guy created alone the virtual equivalent of several Gothic cathedrals. The flagrant immaturity of this act was granted a "Red Code" by WoCoSuSS because it represents the highest level of threat for our society. Indeed, it combines in a Machiavellian way the 3 worst forms of known dangers: (1) organizational (depending on a single individual for so much matters could produce severe malfunctions for the dependent administration in the case of death, disappearance or fatal illness); (2) democratic (so much power in the hands of a single human being is a firebox for tyranny and despotism) and (3) economic (too brilliant individual activity could lead concurrent companies to bankruptcies).

Gervais Pepe underwent the operation yesterday. The selective lobotomy was a success, according to the surgeon. "The gravity of the situation led us to annihilate any technical skill." A sadistic reporter asked some mathematical-related question to the new Gervais. His response was: "Ouffffff..."

Due to its new, balanced, stable and sane postoperative abilities, Mr Pepe was hired again by its former employer as IT manager.

Updated on 2009-11-15.

The (Probably True) Plone News #2# The sharp C-onspiracy

Written for Appy by Gaëtan Delannay on 2009-09-20

Flawinne, in the course of August

Gervais Pepe, a student in animism from Botswana having null IT knowlegde, hacked last week a server from a public administration somewhere in Belgium while system administrators were playing "Rape for the Galaxy", the sordiest
expansion of a well-known card game.

On a named-based-secured shared folder (named "DoNotConsultThis"), Gervais copied the evidence of what could be considered the biggest conspiracy in the IT sector since Alfresco disguised himself as an "open source" software component.

Mr Pepe decided to transmit the files to Prof. Dr. Ig. Galaksor, an independant analyst working frequently for the Computer Crime Unit (CCU) and who was Gervais' professor.

Yesterday, Prof. Dr. Ig. Galaksor published a detailed, 2-paragraphs-wide, report. In a word: a bomb. The collusion is ten years old and implicates a plethora of top civil servants corrupted by major IT companies.

The vicious intrusion in the Python world began with the development of setuptools and eggs. The idea first seducted a bunch of anxious strangers (ed.: geeks whose mother tongue is not Python) appeased by the advent of a jar-like mechanism that would certainly participate in the professionalization of such a pitiful typeless scripting language. In a second step, the movement hit the most doubting Python natives. Despite those early successes, conspirators felt they had to reach a more mature audience if they wanted to spoil the Python community. At this point, their genius consisted in approaching the Plone and Zope populace, that hosted some of the oldiest and wisest Python practitioners.

Indeed, some years ago, Zope/Plone guys faced difficulties due to their success and quick expansion. Their creation was about to become a highly complex and unmaintanable meta-layered technological monster. The Zope and Plone Committee of High-Potential Gurus (in short, ZPCHPG), a handful of unbounded-IQ experts, decided to establish a 100% democratic development process for their baby. Logically, their first decision was to dissolve ZPCHPG some hours after its creation. Soon, a myriad of unexperimented paws began to vitiate the code, flanking the cenacle of simple and powerful abstractions by a mucky clutter of degenerated lines of an ugly code saturated by an unattained (conceptual as well as real) cut-and-paste rate.

Conspirators' role was eased by the generalized psycho-rigidification of moronic socio-philosophical models that occurred within Zope/Plone (non-)leaders' brains, preventing them to re-consider the gregarious, everyone-is-equal development process: Zope 3 was born. This complete Zope rewriting is a Java-like machinery whose rationale resides in the idea that
technology is created through assembling innumerable and simplistic components written by dumbs. In this sense (and in all others), the dishonestly named Zope 3 is the antithesis of Zope 2, whose Pythonic ambition was to provide a suitable toolkit allowing talented individuals to express their creative genius and, this way, enable hard shortcuts in the path to innovation.

In a quite surprising way, the Zope 3 vision magically corresponds to the dark aims of its new, malefic and mysterious sponsors. Prof. Galaksor cites four of the biggest IT companies around and cannot resist to issue an historical analysis, in a steady whisper:

"Centuries ago, innovation was invidividuals' apanage. Cross-discipline one-man-show geniuses produced inventions that propulsated mankind to new levels of welfare. Nowadays, multinational companies are the key players in this arena. While being important for spreading and industrializing inventions, they are not suited at all as incubators for radically new ideas. The home of creativity will always reside in individuals' brains, not in swarming offices exhibiting Tiger Woods on every wall. Of course, their point of view is totally different. Instead of being considered as opportunities, brilliant individuals are seen as threats by those companies. Amazingly, in the 100% immaterial world of IT, a single developer correctly equipped and freed from mainstream thoughts may perform better than thousands of developers directed by a hierarchy of top-managers who were selling condoms in their previous life. The case revealed by my brave Gervais is sad but was predictable. It features insipid but powerful giants trying to induce subtle auto-sabotages in emergent highly-productive equipments such as Python and Zope."

Conspirators' philosophy can be summarized in 3 words: divide and conquer. By producing and marketing themselves purposedly complex languages and frameworks, and ensuring that alternatives inherit from the same characteristics,
big IT companies bog developers down and keep them in impotence with their own consent, consciously slowing down the global pace of innovation.

According to Gervais' discovery, public administrations were involved due to their position of huge IT consumers. Neutralization of the so-called "one-man-show threat" could not occur without major IT clients and suppliers being on the same wavelength. Despite the general reluctance to talk about this case, we have met G.P., a security officer from the hacked administration. G.P. accepted to testify anonymously.

PTPN: "How do you explain this intrusion? Mr Pepe's hacking experience is... null."
GP: "Well. You know, my first objective, when I was hired here, 20 years ago, was to keep all server clocks synchronized. I'm pleased to announce that the hacked server was perfectly configured with NTP and thus synchronized to the millisecond with the atomic clock of Sclaigneaux. By the way, do you know how this kind of clock define a second? It is the duration of 9,192,631,770 cycles of radiation corresponding to the transition between two energy levels of the caesium-133 atom."
PTPN: "Aaah ! [...] What are your feelings about this conspiration, as... domain expert?"
GP: "Python... You know, when I worked for Siemens, critical code sections were developed in a specific assembler named... I... I don't remember. I was a class-D tester. At this time, development processes were serious. Imagine: 5 testing stages had to be run before putting any line of code into production. Once, on a big project, the 4th stage revealed problems. This 5 million € project was abandoned! Great period. Testing is an art. Developers are too narrow-minded to imagine tricky data combinations."
PTPN: "And now, some ... touchy question. You're not forced to answer. How do you consider the implication of your hierarchy in the collusion?"
GP: "[...] [...] [...] Yesterday, I've found a linux version of Blockout, the legendary 3D Tetris. At first glance, I probably don't look like being one, but I am a champion!"

Updated on 2009-12-03.

The (Probably True) Plone News #1# Lost in a buildout

Written for Appy by Gaëtan Delannay on 2009-08-17

Flawinne, in the course of July

Still no news from Gervais Pepe, an experienced Plone developer from Wallonia. 48 hours ago, G.P. was seen for the last time just before entering the develop-egg of i18ndude into a Plone 3 buildout. The police found yesterday his keyboard. Keys 'c' and 'd' could hardly be recognized. Nobody understands why Gervais decided to investigate the installation problems without assistance. Some colleagues describe him as pretentious: "How can one imagine to be able to perform this kind of tasks only after seven years of experience in the domain?". Several VirtualEnvs are currently explored, but investigators progress slowly. They are currently trying to re-compile a Linux kernel that would allow to explore the very first levels of a buildout-wide folder hierarchy. The police recalls that suicide is still among valid assumptions.

Updated on 2009-08-17.

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