Juan Uys

Programmer’s Bill Of Rights 2012


It’s time to collate the various programmers’ bills of rights on the Interwebs and update it for the current age. ¹

Cross-posted from http://perks.opyate.com.

Inspired by Jeff Atwood’s post, and my own needs as a programmer.

The Necessities

The right tools and supplies for your brew.

I get my beans from Monmouth in Camden. I’m a won’t-roast-but-will-grind my own beans kinda guy. And then it’s also worth filling the kettle from a Britta jug.

The necessities

The Hardware

All programmers want and need a MacBook Air.

Why? Because they’re light, beautiful, snappy, It Just Works ™ and besides, if you’re making a case for less hours in the office, what better way to take your work everywhere you go?

The hardware: Macbook Air

Pixel real estate. Yes, a nice, extra 27 inches will do.

(OK, so personally I don’t need an extra monitor. I use my 13” Air in the pub, on the train, at the coffee shop, on the sofa. I work the same way everywhere I go, so plugging in an extra monitor in the office just doesn’t feel right.)

The hardware: Cinema display

A large SSD.

Obvious speed benefits aside, the large capacity means you can take with you all your VMs, your hundreds of Github checkouts, play environments (like Supercollider, Pd, R, Squeak VM, Oz VM, etc), eBooks, large data sets (for those Big Data geeks), and just about everything you can learn from.

The hardware: a large SSD

Speedy Internet connection.

And, please don’t put your super fast fibre optic line behind a crappy wifi router. (yes, wifi is a must, so we can go and chill out on the sofa if we need to.)

Why? Because everything is on the Internet already. Solutions, advice, stuff to read, opinions, cat videos for the in-between moments, and The Wheel, which we won’t (and shouldn’t) have to reinvent.

Speedy has speedy Internet too.

The Privileges

An engineer SHALL have admin rights to her/his computer ²

OK, so I know all about PCI compliancy and the weight of the phrase “your CEO will go to jail if you don’t harden system X”. Still, any devops worth their salt will put their developers on a secure dev subnet where they can’t make mistakes or pose any threats.


Hack days. Google does it. Atlassian does it. Everyone does it, and so should you. The benefits have been espoused time and time again.

Plan well, and have fun, and ensure that the hack lives on: as much fun as hack days are, developers get gratification from seeing their time investment go beyond the awards ceremony.

On your marks. Get set. HACK!

The Chair

An ergonomic chair that will last forever.

I’ve sat in one of these for 3 years now (not continuously, mind) and my back loves me for it. It’s cool in summer, reclines with grace, and makes you feel like your sitting on a cloud while managing your apps in the Cloud.

Get one.

If you're going to be on your bottom all day, you might as well do it in one of these

…and so forth

This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I’ll be happy to hear what other programmers consider the bear necessities.

¹ This is obviously tongue-in-cheek, and programmers make no demands ;-)

² …and all the required ports will be open.

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