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Programming language wars _ 2022/08

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Once upon a time, an adventurer from across the internet stumbled into a designated open and collaborative kingdom where the brightest individuals of various programming language communities came together and happily cooperated to devise a new polyglot bytecode for the Web. People were friendly, helping each other, the effort was well-balanced under a neutral banner and everyone was welcome. Sounds like it couldn't ever be true? It wasn't.

Lumping a bunch of the most troubled people in computing together inevitably led down a different path. The place was stinking and smoldering behind the façade in ways a mere mortal would have difficulty to imagine. Politics soaked into every crack, ambiguity displaced the common ground, sheer scorn was poisoning the air. And so it happened that while the king was out of town — it is said he was counting pouches of pure gold from more worthwhile endeavors — the most persuasive had been handed keys and pitchforks to oversee construction. Once on their own, they became unhappy with their subordinates' foolish utterances, so began taking all the harvest for those truly deserving it, themselves. Eventually, when the mood began to swing, committing lawful atrocities was legalized to maintain the illusion of order. After all, it is common wisdom that humans are merely a resource, and technology is just a means to an end, so in big tech the end justifies the means.

Granted, some inhabitants were pretty naive. But that it would be an arrant disaster? After all, the constitution demanded the creation of a polyglot bytecode for the Web, so it'd all fall into place eventually, right? The king had promised. Documents had been signed. Laws had been established. Alas, reality unfolded and little is known about the horrors gone by. While the relics of ancient times still depict the tale of science, cooperation and professional ethics, it's not a particularly uncommon sight that even though everything of value has long been pillaged, a well-fed sovereign of opinion keeps finding ways to fool themselves and those afar. Yet, today, there are vast lands of scorched earth lying idle around a fortified castle hoisting a singular color. The community is either dead or fled, the most submissive have been spared and invited to the table, while the arsonists are residing comfortably on their thrones, sharpening their pitchforks in anticipation of the next stranger to come by. The technological advance they once swore to devise? Driven ad absurdum.

Perhaps the historians will one day report that the world had just slept the catalyst of the age of programming language wars away, and that under the never seen before imbalance of power established during the king's reign, the cleansing was brief and the reflections were few. Another period of thriving totalitarian ideas touring the globe at the time played its insidious part, and with sublime advances in effective propagation of information there was barely a protest to discern. Almost quietly, people once giving their everything for the cause were backstabbed and slaughtered, those standing next to them regarded their misery just, as their former peers had offended the obscure god invented for the occasion or otherwise committed the blunder of pointing out what was at stake. And those who remain? Still convinced to be intellectually and morally superior to the corpses paving their way, they live happily ever after, interpreting science to come to desired conclusions that will, once the king approves with a yawn, surely bring them praise and make their creation known world-wide.

- A particular individual. Murdered after filing a formal complaint. ✝ 2021/11

Coming up next: Did I already tell you about WebAssembly?