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Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Monday 20/02/2006 Oh, it's Monday. It's grey and cold and February, and Monday.

Monday 20/02/2006

Oh, it's Monday. It's grey and cold and February, and Monday. What can lift my spirits through the miasma of melancholia on such a day, such a Monday?

Microsoft can. Bless you, Microsoft. For today it has announced to the world that "music, like software development, is both a creative and a holistic form of expression; lots of elements need to work together in harmony to get the right result." I'm more inclined towards Charles Ives' belief that "you don't get a wild ride to heaven on the back of a pretty tune", but still — carry on, Microsoft.

"To look deeper into the musical tastes of the developer community, Microsoft commissioned a survey into UK developers preferred 'music to code to'. The survey's findings were then compiled into the press release below."

Fabulous. Please, please, please let this reveal that the UK developer community is the hotbed of independent spirit and creative anarchy I've so long hoped it to be. Let's see: Top Forty Theme ('Rockall' by Mezzoforte, dontcha know) and Bruno Brookes' voice please:

"In at number four, Stereophonics. At three, Oasis. Number two: U2. Britain's Number One!: Coldplay."

This is beyond sad — although it explains the sorry state of our IT industry. Perhaps they're all Microsoft coders, which would certainly excuse the use of so much musical valium.

I refuse to believe this. If you've watched The IT Crowd, you'll no doubt have noticed, among the Jim Woodring cartoons and the "Fair Use Has A Posse" stickers, posters for the Boards of Canada, a true geek band if ever there was one. Although I'd be more comfortable with their label mates Autechre, long-term exposure to whom will enable the listener to write native Itanium microcode — with a blindfold. In binary.

The odd thing is, most of the coders I know would no more listen to Coldplay than they'd wear a tie. There's such a strong link between weird music and the weirdos who live in computers that I can only suppose the true heads of the UK programming scene smelled a Microsoft survey coming a mile off and promptly scampered inside their iron pentacles until it went away. I hope — and encourage — the UK free software community to rise to this challenge as they have to so many others, and publish their own 'Music to code to' lists that reveal the truth in the world as they know it.

Just send me the press release on a Monday. I like happy Mondays.