Don't Pee in the Potato Chips
So, I've expressed some renewed interest in tinkering around with the code behind the OPML Editor and NewsRiver. Well, it needs to be said that there are some strings attached to playing in this field: That is, these are Dave Winer's potato chips I'm enjoying.
And, well, when you're taking chips from another another guy's lunchpail, it's customary to at least be nice to the guy and be gracious about the sharing. Granted, when I'm done, there could end up being more potato chips left in the bag than when I found it—that's the nature of this sort of sharing, after all. But the bag, nonetheless, was brought to the table by Dave.
Although I've tried to bow out of it over the past few years, I have historically been found amongst the crowd who've been known to take pokes at Dave when it affords a run of chuckles or guffaws. Sometimes, this has been in the pursuit of making a technical point or two in dramatic fashion—but often this has just been done toward the goals of playground-level politics and tit-for-tat.
Well, this crap doesn't suit me. Or at least, I don't want to be suited for it. You see, I really just care about being friendly, working on decent code—and besides, my Winer Number is right around Mu.
Although I've been witness to many clashes of ego involving the man with others of strong ego, I've never actually been the personal victim of any slight from Mr. Winer that I care to count or remember. It's been fashionable to poke at him, but my goal is to keep my ego at a calm distance from most things in life and I've not got any personal gripes with Dave Winer.
On the contrary, when I look at my career over the last few years, I see plain evidence that I've benefitted well from the man's influence—even if indirectly from his work. I've successfully profited from implementations of XML-RPC and RSS. I've managed to write my first book thanks to things I first picked up from him. And, I've learned a lot in pursuing fractional horsepower HTTP servers.
Dave writes shitty software and evangelizes shitty ideas. And, since the turn of the century or so, I've adopted and improvised upon many of them for fun and profit. Thus, while I don't want to be on any "side" or in any "camp" or be a mindless fan or follower of anyone or anything—I do feel a need to at least be nice to Dave Winer while I'm sharing his potato chips.
So, Dave? I'm sorry I've pissed in the bag of chips a few times. Maybe we can just call those salt and vinegar and let someone else eat 'em. In the meantime, I might make a run to the party store for some dip or something.