Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

There are moments when I realize that I'm really a Silverwing

I sometimes talk about the fact that I perceive code aesthetically. When I talk about code being "pretty" or "elegant" or "ugly", I don't mean that in a metaphorical sense: I mean that my *emotional* reaction is much the same as looking at a work of art or listening to music. I suspect that most truly serious craftsmen must have the same sense, whether one's art is piano, sculpture or (in my case) software.

What I don't usually mention is that I have much the same reaction to Law. One of the reasons I come across as being down on Law so often is that so much of it is *ugly*: lopsided, inelegant and hackish, thrown together in haste without thinking through the consequences. It hurts me just as much as listening to bad rap music or looking at ill-conceived paintings on velvet.

I'm reminded of this this morning because I'm looking over a contract, and have the rare reaction of, "That's really elegant". It's well-written, clear, complete, and scrupulously fair to both sides. So many contracts in this business are dreadful things that assume that the parties are adversaries, so they write in all sorts of adversarial language, trying to protect one side completely and to hell with the other. Seeing one that's strict but genuinely neutral, holding both parties to reasonable terms, expressing what amounts to a philosophical point in legal language, is an absolute joy by comparison.

I may have to find out who their lawyers are. I probably can't afford them, but I want them in my pocket in case I'm eventually successful enough to do so...
Tags: law, programming

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