"Fuck the Community" - working in deep infrastructure

Work in infrastructure is a strange thing. "Hey, I flipped a switch and the light actually went on" said nobody ever. But flip a switch and it stays dark only once, and it's the fucking GE again, which is ruining the country and the reason why we can't have nice things.

Infrastructure is invisible. When infrastructure people are doing their job right, nobody will thank them, ever, because they do not exist.

The is also true for the Linux kernel. It is a given, invisibly at work on your phone, on the switches that carry your packets from your phone to your provider, and on the servers that your phone is talking to. But the Linux kernel is only talked about when xyz-FS has eaten your draft, or your laptop fails to wakeup from deep sleep when you open the lid.

So while infrastructure developers are using the same tools that other people are using - languages, test frameworks, DCVS'es and so on, the operate under completely different success metrics, and consequently under a completely different value system than feature developers.

Feature developers are doing just that. They build new features = new best cases. Infrastructure developer are concerned about failure and avoiding breakdown = worst cases.

If you show up on the LKML with a patch containing shiny new code = new best case, they will recognise you as an alien from a different universe. Because as long as more code = more bugs at a constant bugs/LoC-ratio, more code is not an asset - under a failure metric it is a liability. You need to convince people why adding your code to the project is actually making life easier by avoiding future failure or improving recovery, or avoiding future irrelevance, because you are talking to professional pessimists.

You also don't want feature persons in an infrastructure environment, because they look at things from the wrong angle. So as long as your project is staffed sufficiently, you do not want these people on board. Educating them, and teaching them professional pessimism could be valuable if you needed them, but as long as you don't it's better to not integrate them. Just keep those that stay around anyway, because they have the right mindset that enables them to contribute even if they are invisible and nobody will ever thank them their work. Because that's what infrastructure is like.

There are many of these people around you. You never notice them. They are not only making your kernel and the libraries everybody links. They are also providing your internet, your power and gas, and they also edit your Wikipedia.

They don't want your contribution and they don't want you, because you are not helping. Unless you do, in which case you are like them, and fuck the community.
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