[ erys : resume : netscape : mork : jwz ]

rysmccusker at yahoo dot com
cell: (415) 215-1797
David (Rys) McCusker    
cell2: (415) 606-2797    

resume, rys, tech,


index, selfmade, mtnlake, apple:pink, apple:taligent, cats, apple:opendoc, netscape, pivia, osaf, pivia:temp, paypal, akamai,

mork, what, why, news, jwz,

Jamie Zawinski, also known as jwz, seemed quite unhappy about Mork. Yesterday, when I googled for material to answer Rambo's question, I found jwz's Perl script for parsing Mork, which contains this comment: "McCusker is a complete barking lunatic." After I stopped laughing, I wondered if I ought to explain for the benefit of other folks; the page linked here does so. Jamie never met me in person, and presumably bases opinion solely on newsgroup exchanges. There's a lot of opinion on his website; I get tarred rather severely, if anonymously, as the boogieman credited as responsible for hated oo C++ databases at Netscape, when I was only the guy who inherited the problem of coping with them. But since I was hired to fix their failings, and jwz wanted them to fail, perhaps I was a source of frustration. Is that a good reason for ad hominem criticisms of Mork?

Jamie doesn't know me. We've never met -- never been in the same room and addressed words to each other. He's never heard my voice nor seen my facial expressions, nor I his. We've never exchanged jokes, insults, or banter of any kind, unless you count a few low bandwidth newsgroup postings. So how does Jamie know I'm a complete barking lunatic? Not that I feel like disputing it, because it tickles me a lot. But how did he know? (For the humor impaired, I'm smiling and having fun. Cue: laugh along with me.)

Most everything I have to say about jwz is hearsay, for exactly the same reasons cited above. I only know about Jamie from what folks have said. Since he's rich and famous and I'm not, I suppose I've heard more about him than vice versa. That's why I haven't said before anything I write below. I don't know it's true. It's just what people said. And there's a big difference between what people say and what's true.

The guy who hired me at Netscape was named John (last name intentionally left unclear in this context), and he told me a friendly story about his team's encounter(s) with jwz when I asked about him. Apparently jwz was really pissed about using C++ in general, and the use of object oriented databases. John said jwz expressed his opinions most forcefully. John said jwz threw a chair across a conference room in anger. I thought this impressive; but was it exaggerated? How can I tell? I know I should ask jwz, but he didn't respond to my last email when I objected to the way I was treated on his website. I get the impression jwz is an angry person. But I could be wrong.

Over the course of a couple years at Netscape, I inferred several things about jwz's attitude toward the mail/news client team at Netscape, all deriving from the replacement of Jamie's work in version 3.0 with code in C++ for the 4.0 version, which was before my time. I gathered jwz was ready to dislike anyone on the team, sight unseen, as yet another mindless minion defending that C++ bastion of cruddy code, in his view. But I didn't do it! They just hired me to fix the scaling problems in the database when mail/news summary files and address books were increased in size by a factor of a hundred or so. I didn't even like that database; the stories about what I went through on it's behalf are almost funny.

As a general rule, I like really smart and flamboyant individuals, even when they are difficult. Everything I know about jwz tells me I'd like him despite his willfully grating behavior, and sometimes even because of it. But I think I'd be seen as an apologist for mediocre talents at Netscape, and therefore of little account. I don't have enough in-your-face style to appeal to folks who like large gestures. At least at work I don't. I like things quiet and easy at work. I'm only eccentric on my own time, when other folks need not deal with it.

I was actually quite flattered by jwz's jibe about barking lunacy. :-) Thanks, it really made my afternoon the other day. It was like the opposite of being damned by faint praise. It felt like kudos by strong abuse. Lately I've been barking for my girlfriend who laughs and says I'm crazy.


rysmccusker at yahoo dot com
cell: (415) 215-1797
David (Rys) McCusker    
cell2: (415) 606-2797