Sunday, October 30, 2005

This Is Called Revulsion

I feel pretty ashamed about the fact that, until I recently learnt that Lavoisier died on the guillotine during the French terror, I was pretty neutral (if not favorable) with the concept of revolution, more precisely, violent ones.

I needed to realize the atrocity of the death of such a beautiful mind, who contributed so much to the development of science, to reconsider my position. Lavoisier was hastily judged on the fact that he used to be a "general farmer", i.e. a tax collector for the king. His death was merely symbolic.

For the same symbolic reason, millions of people died in Cambodia, Cuba, China and many other places where the word "revolution" has been invoked as a reason for violently removing the people who were somehow symbols of the previous regime.

Were all these deaths and all this pain worth it? Read my lips: not a drop of blood was worth it. History has shown, and shows time and again, that a revolution always ends up by replacing one form of human servitude with another one.

What happened recently in Ukraine (the Orange revolution) brilliantly confirms the message of Gandhi: a peaceful crowd can accomplish great things, including revolutions that would take the life of no-one, hence that would not nurture fear, anger and the need for revenge.

Friday, October 14, 2005

From Simple To Dumb?

Now what? There is an on-going effort to simplify Spring's configuration lead by James Strachan himself under the jolly name of XBean and this terrifies me to death.

First: when Mr. Strachan talks of simplicity people using Struts and other Strachian offspring can reasonably start to wet their pants.

Second: Spring is already simple: who on Earth needs to make simplicity simpler, especially when the risk is to make things simplistic if not dumb!

True XBean offers a richer XML syntax where beans are represented by actual elements but this remains XML, no harder, no simpler. Would a new DOS syntax have made it simpler? The true simplicity came from a layer above.

Hence, what could make Spring simpler would be a powerful Eclipse plug-in that would allow me to not only wire my beans but also to take advantage of other features of the framework (JMX exposition, AOP, MVC and, why not, Webflow): this would hide XML completely and really make Spring simpler.

Post-Scriptum: People knowing NxBRE could argue that this post is a cheap shot as I did exactly the same when I introduced a richer syntax for the Flow Engine by XSL-Ting the general de-typed XML Schema into a more specific one. To my defense, let me point out that I have never claimed that the new syntax will be simpler, the goal was to make it richer...

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Back to 1936

The latest incidents in Corsica remind me of my youth, when we were protesting in the streets, trying to convince the government

to maintain its stake in the deficit laden steel industry sector. 25 years have past and steel industry, as well as coal mining, are history in France, sacrificed on the altar of profitability. Is this sad? Surely for all the families that have been badly hit by the situation, but looking at the tough work conditions of these industries, it might be better to follow the trend of western countries and evolve to a service and leisure oriented society (who said shallow?).

Anyway, it was profitable for common good to relieve the state from such debt-crippled industries, and the same applies to the ferry operator SNCM. What is tragic is the incapacity of the government to explain this simple fact that there is no more wonderland and welfare states ; what is also tragic is the fact that the unions are still engrossed in concepts dating from the middle of the 20th century.

A nice alternative would have been to help the employees of the SNCM to buy their company, make it their own so they would take care of it in the way that would please them and make them proud. That would have been a better investment than this pathetic last-minute promise of keeping a few percent stake in the operator.

But we live now in a society that has the luxury of considering that rights are not balanced with duties, so it is easier to enter in a useless and expensive blockade to have workers rights recognized instead of helping them dealing with the duty of saving and restoring the company they work for so hard.

This is not a easy talk and surely not one you want to hold less than two years from presidential elections. Who cares about truly empowering people? Let the noise-making property-breaking unions do their show. Welcome back to 1936.