Politics Foreign Affairs Culture Fellows Program

Brendan Eich Writes

Defending JavaScript, dissing the Benedict Option

Apparently the heated nerd discussion about the merits of Java JavaScript brought him to this blog. BTW, he’s not a fan of the Benedict Option, though I don’t think he understands what it is. From his comment in another thread:

All right, this is ridiculous. I appreciate “Weasel Hunter” (whom I probably know, but who could be one of several people) carrying my water, but I’m going to comment once only here, and not on _Obergefell_ or my situation at Mozilla. I came to find this blog post via a Google Alert I have for my name and “JavaScript”.

(On _Obergefell_ and the inevitable SSM story, I do wish Rod would not drop my name so much, because while I did lose my job, and also FYI I did have to face a blackball-dropping event at one other Valley big company, I’m not a martyr. We should all pray for greater faith, hope and charity, and stop whinging about SSM or the US-based global elite that’s pushing it as just one step along a revolutionary road. More and worse is coming, and complaining is far from being ready. Pulling out of society also isn’t going to work, or satisfy Christ’s injunction to be “salt and light” to the world.)

“EngineerScotty” accuses me of intransigence and asserts that I have extraordinary influence with the W3C (www.w3.org), which is not the body governing JavaScript, but whatever. This is not a new complaint, you’ll hear it on Hacker News from time to time. It’s still all obvious bunk.

If Google could not replace JavaScript even in their own browser Chrome (even by adding DartVM as a first step), as their explicit words in the leaked “Dash memo”[1] stated that they fully intended to do with Dart (neé Dash), then blaming me is just whipping a convenient devil. Show some backbone, Scotty, and take on the big devils: Microsoft in its heyday, and now Google. Or to be fair to them, pay attention to path dependence in evolving systems. JS is very, very hard to replace.

Indeed my latest work, with many others doing the heavy lifting (I’m just playing Tom Sawyer organizing the fence-painting), on WebAssembly[2], promises to produce polyglot-programming-language browsers in a few years, by evolving JS and its one and only browser-embedded engine standard (multiple browsers in a competitive market [thanks to Firefox, mainly] = multiple engines, also a good thing in spite of the retromingent complaints about inevitable portability bugs across browsers — such bugs are much worse across silo’ed languages such as C and C++).

Only through something like WebAssembly might JS, in the far future, actually be replaced over a long evolutionary path. Don’t believe intransigent-me? Ask Steve Lucco at Microsoft, or Fil Pizlo at Apple, or anyone at Google. I can connect you, although it’d be a short and embarrassing conversation.

But enough from me and techno-politics. Surely you people have better things to discuss!


[1] https://lambda-the-ultimate.org/node/4355
[2] https://brendaneich.com/2015/06/from-asm-js-to-webassembly/

“More and worse is coming.” We definitely agree on that. Anyway, Brendan, I keep bringing you up not because I think you are a “martyr” but because what happened to you is what’s going to happen to many of us: being driven out of corporate life by completely legal means because we don’t conform our consciences to the Zeitgeist. People need to stop thinking of prisons for themselves (not going to happen), and start thinking about what happened to you as a more realistic picture of what is likely to happen to them, and to those they know, who don’t conform.



Want to join the conversation?

Subscribe for as little as $5/mo to start commenting on Rod’s blog.

Join Now