A little push back on SN #926

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Duckpaddle

Well-known member
Oct 1, 2020
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In Episode 926, Steve voiced his opposition to a proposed law that would mandate the disclosure of the country of origin for software products. I feel compelled to challenge this viewpoint, not out of ill-will, but rather as a fellow developer based in the United States. I've experienced firsthand the complications arising from the software that app stores frequently push upon us. This software is often produced under demanding contracts, negotiated between large corporations' marketing teams and shady offshore contractors, where the focus is more on meeting quotas than ensuring quality or security.

Implementing a "truth in labeling" provision could illuminate the prevalence of hastily produced code in contemporary applications, a problem that surely isn't limited to my own experiences. I believe that Steve, a craftsman who takes pride in his work, would agree that his creations deserve to be recognized as products of local craftsmanship.

The purpose of my critique is not to undermine Steve's opinion but to suggest that this transparency could reinforce our shared commitment to quality, security, and respect for domestic labor in the software industry.
 
As a Canadian travelling by plane with a diabetic, I almost got thrown in jail at the American border for bringing along a "tide one over" snack that included an apple. If that apple hadn't had the "sourced in America" sticker on it, it would have been a real problem, apparently. (Or maybe all of that is just theatre.) In any case, if a measly apple needs to account for its place of origin, I don't have a problem with the software coming with some indication of whose laws apply to it in case of any future problems.
 
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How would you go about labeling something that uses libraries? As we have seen, libraries are a source of all sorts of nastiness. You might not know much by knowing where it was coded or designed (not necessarily the same thing). Also, many libraries not might indicate that much.


illuminate the prevalence of hastily produced code

Knowing where the program is from, might not show you how well or poorly it was coded. The dev reputation might give you more information about that. For instance, labeling a program's location as Redmond or palo alto, might not be as useful as stating it is done by Microsoft or hp (as opposed to Hewlett Packard until 2015)

almost got thrown in jail
Most often they just try to instill the fear of god for bringing fruit. However, most as most commercial items, including food usually have their country of origin listed. https://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/02/food-safety-in-country-of-origin-labeling/
 
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As a Canadian travelling by plane with a diabetic, I almost got thrown in jail at the American border for bringing along a "tide one over" snack that included an apple. If that apple hadn't had the "sourced in America" sticker on it, it would have been a real problem, apparently. (Or maybe all of that is just theatre.) In any case, if a measly apple needs to account for its place of origin, I don't have a problem with the software coming with some indication of whose laws apply to it in case of any future problems.
I still think those border agents very much enjoyed the Made in Canada ham sandwich I got confiscated. Glad they didn't decide to pump my stomach for the other half....
 
How would you go about labeling something that uses libraries? As we have seen, libraries are a source of all sorts of nastiness. You might not know much by knowing where it was coded or designed (not necessarily the same thing). Also, many libraries not might indicate that much.




Knowing where the program is from, might not show you how well or poorly it was coded. The dev reputation might give you more information about that. For instance, labeling a program's location as Redmond or palo alto, might not be as useful as stating it is done by Microsoft or hp (as opposed to Hewlett Packard until 2015)


Most often they just try to instill the fear of god for bringing fruit. However, most as most commercial items, including food usually have their country of origin listed. https://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/02/food-safety-in-country-of-origin-labeling/
That is the crux of the problem. Code of unknown or dubious origin, which is blindly employed by the guys who just learned to program.
 
Just wait for the avalanche of bad apps when the marketing types think ChatGPT is a professional coder....
 
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That is the crux of the problem. Code of unknown or dubious origin, which is blindly employed by the guys who just learned to program.
How does requiring country of origin help that? Programmers from 80 countries contribute to the Linux kernel.
 
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How does requiring country of origin help that? Programmers from 80 countries contribute to the Linux kernel.
That would be the first step in building reputation monitoring for code quality. The other real problem is verifying the truth of the code origin.