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Re: casual contributors

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: casual contributors
Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2012 20:06:23 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.0.94 (gnu/linux)

Graham Percival <address@hidden> writes:

> On Fri, Mar 23, 2012 at 05:26:11PM +0100, David Kastrup wrote:
>> The definition of a customer for me is a person receiving something
>> valuable.  A person merely believing to receive something valuable is
>> a sucker instead.
> Oh, they *are* receiving something valuable.  They're receiving an
> engineering university degree from a 500+-year-old university.
> This gives them additional social standing and job opportunities.

They are receiving a piece of paper.

In Germany, we have a state pension system where you earn "points", and
when you retire, those points are used to calculate your pensions,
depending on how much gets paid into the system by the current workers.
It is a "solidarity" system where workers pay for the retirement of
former workers with the expectation that the same will happen for them.

Works so-so, because population is diminuishing.  So now we have
additional _private_ pension systems where the payout is not a
consequence of "points" but rather of what you actually paid in, with
interest.  Great idea, except for the tiny little detail that money,
just like "points", is a piece of paper that is worth a proportion of
what goods are being produced by the current generation of workers.

When there are no jobs because the engineers can't compete with those
from countries where the engineering is actually able of creating
products rather than degrees, you have no additional social standing.

Somebody has to make those papers worth what is printed on them.

> They gain a _bit_ of knowledge, but at first guess I'd say that
> their entire four-year degree is equal to one year at a German
> university.

I have no idea.  Engineering student numbers have dropped significantly
at my former university, and it is to be expected that standards were
adjusted downwards in order to get enough students back (we have state
education almost exclusively, but the funds are distributed according to
student numbers).

> I hate to sound like a grumpy old man -- no wait, who am I
> kidding, I love being a curmudgeon :) -- but I agree.  There are
> some people who do amazing stuff these days: spaceX, machine
> learning at google, the plummeting cost of DNA analysis, etc.  But
> there seems to be a growing rift between the top
> scientists+engineers and everybody else.

And that means that the degree is less worth as a means of securing a
reputation and a job.

> Anyway, this is rather far afield from getting help for casual
> contributors to lilypond.  :)

Ah, but our code base is rather musical: "if you can make it there, you
can make it anywhere, it's up to you"...

"What impressed you most about the LilyPond code base?"  "No comment."
"But I really want to know!" "I just told you."

David Kastrup

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