Ethics in Software Engineering

I’d like to start by first talking about software engineering itself, and whether it can legitimately be called engineering. The Oxford English Dictionary defines “engineering” as:

The branch of science and technology concerned with the development and modification of engines (in various senses), machines, structures, or other complicated systems and processes using specialized knowledge or skills, typically for public or commercial use; the profession of an engineer. Freq. with distinguishing word.

By this definition I believe it’s fair to describe the design and creation of software as “software engineering” and I’m going to proceed with the rest of this post on that basis.

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Language in the New Millennium

One of my passions has always been the articulate expression of oneself through language.  We have this wonderful, rich language we call English and there is great joy to be found in learning to use it effectively.  The point of this post isn’t to rant about the degradation of the language or our frequent abuse of it – I’ve covered that already – instead I’d like to talk about different ways of using the language in different contexts, and that I believe it doesn’t make sense to enforce strict, blanket rules across the board.

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