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Integrity? Bryan Cantrill still hasn't apologized for:

- Calling a core node.js developer an asshole in public

- Throwing him under the bus, and

- Saying that if he was an employee, he'd be fired, full stop

... all while talking about the importance of empathy: https://www.joyent.com/blog/the-power-of-a-pronoun

And of course, there's the "Have you kissed a girl?" response[1] from early in his career. He doesn't seem to have actually changed since then, he just figured out that if you hide your social aggression behind feel-good platitudes, you can get away with a lot more.

[1] http://www.osnews.com/story/28261/_Have_you_ever_kissed_a_gi...

Cantrill is really an interesting character who has been through some hard knocks (Sun -> Oracle) and what must be some very stinging disappointments over the course of his career. I think it's a reasonable inference that at some point, a smart, high-level engineer like himself would have wised up to the game. Right now, that's the best interpretation I have for his conduct re: pronouns, and some of the more transparent sales pitches that bleed through his presentations.

His talks are really intriguing for me personally, as I find it therapeutic to try to watch him narrate his conflicted feelings on the rising containerization revolution; I hold many of the same views, including a deep disappointment for the way this has all played out; I can only imagine it's worse for Cantrill, who, as an Solaris/OpenSolaris/illumos dev, has been dealing with this type of disappointment for 20+ years.

In one talk, he compares the complexity of a modern devops infrastructure to a nuclear reactor, and in another, he talks about it in terms of God granting fire to mankind, before mankind puts it out without learning to cook because they were afraid that it was too hot. He talks about how he is going to try to discuss some containerization fads "without having an aneurysm".

Cantrill is great and we need more visibility from people like him.

I appreciate the kind words, but I have actually had very few real disappointments in my career -- and those that I have have all been of the bad professional breakup variety. (And though I have come to accept that in those that value longevity, some of these kind of breakups are inevitable, it doesn't make them any less painful!)

So in my (still young!) career, the good days have far outnumbered the bad ones -- and I am blessed by healthy kids, a loving family, food on the table, and a roof over my head. Which is not to say, of course, that I am above a rant or two, but that there's always a twinkle in the eye that reflects an underlying optimism and gratitude.

His historical account on container technology is to me very much a sales pitch for Joyent.

The container we talk today is more about packaging and cluster management/orchestration, which is completely independent to the resource/security isolation of what's been invented long before Docker. Note that those things are not important, it's just only a part of the pillars, and TBH, a relatively less important part.

That it works as a sales pitch doesn't mean it's inaccurate. The focus of container work pre-Docker really was all about isolation not packaging.

Joyent is a joke. I wasn't personally affected by this but I'll always advice against giving them any money, even a single cent.


I regularly see people make the mistake of believing that being empathetic is effectively being a universally-nice doormat, or that empathy itself is a universal good. Neither is true.

So Cantrill's behaviour isn't an indictment of his integrity in and of itself. I think it's more that you haven't considered the implications of empathy as a bias.

I disagree that it's not an indictment of his integrity, while agreeing with the remainder of your points.

If this was an example of empathy as a bias, it led to abusing someone quite publicly and inappropriately. Failure to recognize and correct this is demonstrative of a lack of integrity.

Disagreing with you is not the same as lacking integrity.

These are two very different incidents, yet despite being separated in time by fifteen years, they nonetheless tend to travel as a pair -- to the point that I contrasted them in a comprehensive reply several years ago.[1]

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9041086

Yeah, that pronoun-gate thing was pretty ugly. If I recall correctly the guy Cantrill called out for misogyny wasn't a native English speaker and hadn't even realized there was a political aspect to the whole thing.

I didn't follow the issue after that, and had sort of vaguely presumed Cantrill would have walked back his comments in some way, but if he hasn't then it's a little hard to square that with talk of integrity.

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