O'Reilly Network have published a couple more interviews that I conducted with EuroOSCON speakers.
The first was with Autrijus Tang, an amazing guy who works with Perl and Haskell. We talked about internationalisation in Perl, which turned out to be in a much stronger position than I had expected, and the Haskell language. Tang has this to say on why Haskell's a good language to work in:
Most languages require you to pay a "language tax": code that does nothing with the main algorithm, placed there only to make the computer happy.
Haskell also encourages you to shape the language to fit your problem domain, so the program often reads out like a runnable specification.
People who've been playing with Ruby on Rails will find sympathy with this kind of viewpoint.
Secondly, I was privileged to talk with Alan Cox about computer security. Cox's responses were fascinating, and highlight the major concerns and areas of progress in computer security today. At the end of the interview, I asked him if it was ultimately going to be government regulation that drove software quality and security.
At the moment it is coming from the cost of cleaning up. Other incentives come from statutory duties with data protection, and also from bad publicity.
In the future they might also come from lawsuits--for example, if an incompetently run system harms another user--or from Government. In theory as we get better at security the expected standard rises and those who fail to keep up would become more and more exposed to negligence claims.
The bad case is that someone or some organization unleashes a large scale internet PC destroyer before we are ready and legislation gets rushed through in response. That will almost certainly be bad legislation.
Read the interviews in full: