Has Zed jumped the shark ?

Zed ShawZed Shaw, the creator of Mongrel, is writing some pretty nasty stuff about the Rails community, ThoughWorks and Ruby.

There’s no work for a smart man in a town full of stupid.

Although I agree there might be some stupid people working with Rails right now, there’s a huge number of very bright people too. And there’s stupid people working with PHP, Java, Python, C, Haskell, Erlang, Lua and Factor too.

The thing is: Rails is getting easier to use every day, lowering the barrier of entry for new coders. The Rails community is growing beginner level coders a lot faster then expert coders now. A year ago, it was probably the opposite. Alpha geeks like being credited for doing hard stuff, solving impossible puzzle, and making code run faster then you could think possible. But Rails is so standardized now, there’s little place for innovation. So new coders to make a name in that community by changing the game again. It was easy before, nothing was there, everything was to be done!

Congratulations because all the idiots who paid ThoughtWorks 6x times salary for junior ass wipes got taken and simply paid to train ThoughtWorks’ new crew

And maybe ThoughWorks is taking advantage of Rails popularity, but it will happen for other cool framework/language too if they get some day to that level of popularity. There’s no reason to shit on the Rails community for this.

After revitalizing myself, getting out of the Rails business (or trying), distancing myself from Mongrel, disconnecting from the Ruby community

Is this the end of Mongrel ?

Zed rant was pretty excessive and even though he claims that everything he writes on his blog is an act, I’m sure he’ll regret this as this will get quoted out of that so-called humorous context.

Strange way to start the new year!

What’s your thoughts on this ?



Filed under rails, ruby

16 responses to “Has Zed jumped the shark ?

  1. I was just reading this and I don’t think it’s worth talking about (although I will because this is the internet ;).

    90% of the article isn’t even about rails. He’s had 2 bad years and he is somehow blaming it on the rails community, because he happened to be doing rails stuff at the time. And as you say, there are stupid people in every community. In two years time, he will probably say the same thing about whatever community he joined.

    I don’t know the guy, but the way he talks, I don’t think most people like interacting with him and that’s probably what’s causing him problem.

  2. Mat

    Zed has obviously written this post in an inflammatory (probably cathartic) way; and while he will likely get a lot of flack for being a trolling asshat, I’ve gotta say kudos to him telling it like he sees it.

    There is a lot of bickering in the blogosphere, but there is also WAY too much self-congratulating-echo-chamber-raraism. When someone chops down the BS to expose some kernel of truth, skimming off the bubbly froth, I think it is ultimately good for the community.

    I don’t know enough about Rails to say how much of Zed’s rant is right and/or wrong, but what’s certain is that self-reflection and self-criticism is a good way to grow, and I hope some people try to dig out some of the lessons that can be learned (if any) from his experience.

  3. Mat:
    I also very much dislike when there’s too much self congratulation and like to see BS exposed. Except, this isn’t the case here. It’s just someone being angry. And if there is a kernel truth in it, it has nothing to do whatsoever with rails.

  4. i think the rant is important because he built mongrel, and also because the framework transitioned from fcgi to mongrel (well not officially but that’s what the majority of people are using)

    by the way, i believe what he wrote, but it’s not due to “rails”, it’s because the framework is young.

  5. Should Rails be “hard” just to please some gifted geeks with high egos? No.

    It’s really not my intention to start a war about this, but… if Zed or anyone is mad about some community, fine, he has perfectly the right to blog about it. However, I find the way Zed is “quitting” to be incredibly stupid. I think it’s pretty basic stuff to say, but learning to respect people and to control yourself is necessary to earn respect from others. I’m extremely stunned to read such a laughable and juvenile blog post from the author of Mongrel.

  6. @jf: I think you nailed it: all this is happening to him because people don’t like interacting with him.

    @mat: I agree, but his post feels like he thinks he’s the only intelligent person in the community. He’s congratulating himself and denigrating the work of others. The sentence “There’s no work for a smart man in a town full of stupid.” was really the most shocking one for me. I really don’t think he’s that great of a coder. He sure knows a lot about software but I’ve seen far better written code then Mongrel’s.

    @heri: he sure has an important role in Rails community. I feel like his popularity got to his head. It’s not like he wrote the best code ever written. The innovative part of Mongrel is the parser which is written as a state machine using a compiler. The rest of the code is OK but not impressive like you’d see in some part of Rails or in why the lucky stiff code IMO.

    @frank: I don’t think Rails should be hard. I think it’s perfect like it is now. I just meant to say that it’s a mainstream product and no logger a thing alpha-geeks play with during weekends.

    thx for the comments all!

    Do you think this will impact Mongrel’s future?

  7. Hoo boy. After reading that, I can only be thankful that I haven’t had to work with someone with that kind of attitude before. Watching someone air that much dirty laundry in public is just painful.

  8. Zed is a great programmer, and Mongrel rocks, but Zed is showing his true colors here and it’s no wonder he had such a hard time getting a job.

    Mongrel is now run by a team of good folks and is in no danger that I can see.


  9. danielharan

    Well, he comes off as an immature and conceited – someone that most people wouldn’t hire for attitude alone.

    Unfortunately, there is also a kernel of truth to what he says. What boggled my mind was the 400 restarts per day figure. WTF?

  10. I’m sure it’s 400 restarts over a couple of servers, can’t be a restart each 4 min on the same machine.

  11. @Marc,

    I know Marc, my comment wasn’t targeted at you. It just seems like Zed is mad at Rails for being mainstream and accessible.

  12. Mongrel’s safe for all, as I’m letting other people take charge of it and manage it.


  13. Zonk Baraba

    Who needs that Zed guy now when we have your cool new webserver?

    The only interesting thing in Zed’s rant was mentioning that DHH had to restart his stupid app 400 times a day. That kinda is like saying that Rails is based on a huge lie.

  14. Andreas Scherer

    s/ThoughWorks/ThoughtWorks/, pls.

  15. Can’t say I hate Zed Shaw. He’s one good hacker. I just hate the way he lashed. Guess that’s his writing style. 🙂 His rant was an eye opener for people already in Ruby/Rails, at certain levels at least, but it surely did scared thousands away from Ruby/Rails (made it to Slashdot).

    Ruby and stuff like Rails, etc. are things we love. A growing community based on interesting and rapidly developing technologies. And the community he yells at with lot of “F” words, is the same driving force behind FOSS. It’s the same thing which proved corporate monopolies aren’t the only way to go. I’m pretty sure Zed has some valid things about certain people and bureaucracy, to go out in such a way, but overall Ruby/Rails community is a very nice and live community I’ve taken part in. That’s why I think it should have been more constructive.

    Just read the full thing with the updates and I believe Zed also wishes Ruby, “Good Luck”.

  16. Good for Zed!

    He pointed out the issues as he saw them and called out God DHH for what he is. Is DHH’s ‘fuck you’ statement any less juvenile?

    Also, anyone sane person would have a problem hiring this guys with his attitude, a risk that is difficult to justify, but hey, great talent can be temper mental. These are our rockstars!

    The ride up is great but the ride down sucks!

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