Re-opening comments, due to popular demand.
I had an email exchange this week that reminded me of this topic, which I've been meaning to blog about for a long time (thanks, Ben). Attribution!
Back when I started at Apple they had an ethic of attribution. Everybody signed their work. Some of the original Macintoshes even had signatures inside the case (I know because I've looked...I used to run the Apple Archives and we had several signed cases). For sofware there was the About Box. I've just found a link on Andy Hertzfeld's Folklore site about why we got to be in the About Box. Very interesting piece of history. As a result of Bill Atkinson, the About Box in the late 80s through mid-90s always included a list of the people who worked on the software, sometimes also what jobs they did and if there was room also a picture. Sometimes the picture was only accessible in an Easter Egg. For QuickTime Conferencing it was my job to create the About Box list. It was so cool to be able to tell your Mom and Dad how to look for you in the About Box.
In about 1997 it was decided that About Boxes would no longer include attribution, because Apple had noticed that every time a new version of software came out, everyone on the list got an unsolicited call from a recruiter.
Now, I don't know about you, but if obscurity is the only reason I'm still with my company....there's a problem!
If I was at Apple now you'd better believe I'd be arguing for attribution again. In fact I think every programmer should fight for attribution, no matter what company is writing the paycheck. Look at the entertainment industry. Who shows up where in the credits is a big, big deal...translating directly to job satisfaction and a way to track an individual's body of work over time.
This is one of the best features of open source in my opinion. I tell people all over the world that open source (and blogging) can help build them a reputation that will serve them when looking for employment. Why should that stop when you get a job? You should get credit for everything you do (good and bad)...responsibility and accountability come along with attribution too.
So sign your work! Sign your comments on blogs while you're at it!