Long time no see. The last post here was pretty grim, so here's something more light-hearted.
I spent an hour (ish) today patching my old pair of pants. I bought it some 15 years ago,
a few sizes too big. That part hasn't changed too much (thankfully, I guess), the fabric still mostly
holds up, but the stitches and the buttons require maintenance every few years. They're still the most comfy
pair of pretty much anything that I own, even if it's a bit of a shame to wear them in public.
Or is it? And why? I can't get myself to accept the broader society's apparent answer to the former
(which is a “yes“), and I'm yet to hear a reasonable (to me) argument for the latter.
Fixing up all the stitches took me around an hour. Even if you factor in the labour costs, it is still way
cheaper than driving to a store and getting a new pair (let's assume that it'd be actually possible to find
something this comfortable again). It is, without a doubt, more environmentally friendly, and my self-sufficience
is something that I'm proud of. And yet I keep hearing “why don't you buy a new pair”, and the bizarre
“can't you afford something better?”, often coming from people who proudly buy second-hand clothes.
It feels like different people have different battles they pick when it comes to environmentalism. Some don't
eat meat, some don't drive. I patch my clothes :)
The reason for “real life” in the title is because I expect the overwhelming majority of my audience to think
“software” when they see “patching”. When done carefully, these software patches don't stand out and look ugly,
and it's a norm that some 90% of our work is patching some old thing rather than getting a new one. Presumably
that's because, like with clothes, we've tried “just getting a new thing” one too many times and it made us
appreciate the old, unfashionable thing and just how well it worked for us – and how getting a new thing more
often than not boils down to adapting to a new broken instead of fixing the old broken.
Can you imagine if software was being replaced with something else just becuase the existing one is old,
boring and out of style?
...you know what, nevermind.