Obama For President

Now that John Edwards is out of the race, I am endorsing Barack Obama for president (I had been deciding between the two). While of course I don’t agree with Obama on every issue, I like his candidacy, and the more I see, the more I like.

The smear campaigns against Obama, which unfortunately seems to be working, are astonishing. One otherwise highly intelligent friend of mine told me that terrorists would want Obama to win. Nothing he has said or done makes me feel that he would be sympathetic to or supportive of terrorists.

I recently had the privilege of hearing Alan Dershowitz speak, and he said that he had had Obama as a student, and “there isn’t an anti-semitic bone in [Obama’s] body”, and also that pro-Israel candidates could vote for Obama with a clear conscience (Dershowitz himself supports Clinton).

There’s also the rest of the candidates to consider. While policy-wise, I could probably live with Clinton (her voting record is almost identical to Obama’s), I feel like her campaign has been much more cynical and divisive, and that she, McCain, and Romney represent the American incumbency: the entrenched power structure that has allowed so many Americans to go voiceless and powerless (Huckabee does not, but he’s nuts**). Obama really does seem to represent something new: his so-called “lack of experience” (my favorite line is that the person in Washington with the most experience is Dick Cheney) is an asset in my opinion. He will bring fresh ideas and perspective into a Washington that desperately needs it.


* JFK himself came from a power family, his father being a Senator.
** Huckabee completely lost me when he said he wanted to rewrite the Constitution in God’s image.

p.s. I wrote earlier about how, of all the candidates, Obama is the most Kennedy-esque*. And if you’ll indulge me to toot my own horn a bit, this was weeks before Obama actually received the Kennedy clan’s endorsements. Ok, done bragging ;-)

Giving Credit

According to Hollywood Reporter (via Digital Artist Management), Rockstar Games (of Grand Theft Auto fame) left 55 or so developers out of the game Manhunt 2‘s credits.

From the article:

Imagine working on a blockbuster film for 2-1/2 years and then being left out of the movie’s end credits. It’s not likely to happen because union contracts dictate giving credit where credit is due.

Now imagine working on a hit video game for 2-1/2 years and no one — not you, not anyone in your team of 55-plus developers — appears in the credits.

The article points out that Hollywood is unionized, and therefore has regulations to protect its members from this sort of thing, while the game industry is not.

Software developers should not find this surprising. Most software products give no recognition to its developers. Try finding the credits for any Microsoft, Yahoo, or Google product. At best, you’ll find an easter egg that the developers snuck in themselves under the radar.

In the open source world, the opposite is true. This is quite obvious since open source developers often work only for the credit. So credit becomes that much more important, and visible.

If you’re using Firefox, click on Help > About and you’ll see a “Credits” button right there on the About page. Ruby on Rails has a link to a page listing its core developers on every page. Linux has a very Linux-like CREDITS file (although I couldn’t find it in my Linux installation, and I had a surprisingly hard time finding Ubuntu’s credits). Apache has easy-to-find credits on a project-by-project basis (including the famous web server).

What’s particularly disturbing about the Rockstar story is that the game industry is one of the few software sectors that has credited those who have worked on it. So this is really a step backwards from the status quo. Software companies should be moving in the direction of giving more credit to those who work on their products, not less.


p.s. I hadn’t even thought of developer credits for software until reading About Face 2.0: The Essentials of Interaction Design, which questions the current practice of not crediting developers.