The Programmer's Bill of Rights


A nice collection of items that, no doubt, would improve the overall effectiveness of a developer.

However, do we believe these rights to be inalienable. From whence do these rights flow? I am not against Better Conditions, but rights implies either a vaguely disguised threat - or plea. If these rights come from the Great Developer in the Sky, so be it.

As for the “developer should be on the slowest machine” nonsense (yes, nonsense): This argument has been picked up, touted, and reasonably knocked down for decades now. Is no one listening - or do they believe that all the work in software development processes: agile, RUP, etc is just to make the Developer better? No - the cost of the “development” hour is the single, largest, expense in the creation of new software.

So, if you have no economical sense: Go ahead! Give them slow computers. And watch your budget EATEN alive as developers lean back in those New Comfy Chairs and stretch while the current compile/test/debug goes on and on.

The only addition I have, and it isn’t exactly a right is this:

Developers ARE business people.

Okay, just a statement and not a right. However, allowing the old stereotype of the “developer who don’t know nothing but code” never really existed but it does allow the non-technical to look down their collective noses at Developers - even though that same group is the group IMPLEMENTING their business rules.

Slow computers for Developers. Think Business!



I don’t have a frickin’ chance of getting these fulfilled when our employer won’t even provide legal copies of Visual Studio to us.


I would add an unlimited supply of caffeine (pick your flavor) to this list. I see a huge difference after I have had a few cups of coffee in the morning, or after sucking back a Coke in the afternoon when the day is starting to drag on.


Quote : ‘(proposed) Every programmer should be given EXACT specifications of what he is expected to deliver.’

This one is my favorite LOL. I hate running off and trying to do a project with nothing but a general idea of whats going on. A GOOD systems analysis is a must!


If you agreed to a salary, you already sold your rights and soul away. The only one that in the long run matters is that you have a right to code for yourself instead of building an asset for someone else.


Quick PC - depends. If you’re running VMs, or server part of an app, then yes (you have to get something done!), otherwise, then no (you should suffer like the users).

The two rights I’d add would be:

The right to work late when you’re on a roll (I know, it seems wrong, but I can’t and it’s frustrating).

The right to do something else when you’ve been focussed on a problem for two long. A pinball machine or pool table would be ideal.

(All my best ideas come when I’m not thinking about the problem itself)


Good list. They are all necessary for a programmer to be productive.


This post is really really nice!

Every programmer shall have two monitors

I don’t have. I wish I have. RIght now I have a LCD. that’s it.

Every programmer shall have a fast PC

Well, i have a 2.8GHZ Intel Pentium with 1GB memory. The PC unit is unbrand though but it is still fast.

Every programmer shall have their choice of mouse and keyboard

I was allowed to pick from several left-over keyboard hahaa… my boss bought a special mouse for me though.

Every programmer shall have a comfortable chair

I need a more confy chair.

Every programmer shall have a fast internet connection

Amen to this! Luckily I have but i’m kind’a pissed off when one of our designers visits youtube and watch anime!!! draining all of our bandwidth!

Every programmer shall have quiet working conditions

So far, yes quite but i usually received requests from client via e-mail… multiple projects, multiple clients… It makes me crazy sometimes.


fair point but if it bothers you so much, why not change things themselves, as you know buying an LCD screen is cheaper, even cheaper if you get a second hand old style monitor, so that sorts the monitor problem. A keyboard and mouse, they’re cheap as well and you can also bring a good chair in.

I know it should be provided, but if someone else won’t do it why not immediately solve the problem, on a computer programmers salary these items are affordable.

As for your PC, you can point out that the cost of a new one would be a fraction of your wages and would be value considering the boost in productivity this would achieve.

A broadband connection should surely be supplied as standard, you can’t be using dial up?

Surely that’s quick enough to get source code.

Quiet working environment? Put your ear plugs in (or industrial strenght ear protectors id it’s that bad), put your phone on vibrate, you only need to take them off if you need to talk to other people.

If you can take direct action such as this, why wait for someone who knows what the problems are but hasn’t lifted a finger and probably has no intention of doing so to do something about the situation, when you can do something quicker which could make your life a little more comfy?


Someone mentioned free coffee and unlimited smokes. Yes I remember those days too. Now I solve the problem of the uncomfy chair by going out for a smoke. Gets the circulation going (in the legs at least) and as someone else observed, getting away from the problem often helps. Indeed it does, especially when one is enjoying a fine smoke and the superb eye-candy of midtown Manhattan. Ciao tutti!


That’s awesome. It will improve everyone’s working effeciency. And If I were a programmer, it would allow me to secretly play the most hardware demanding games of today x)


Boss told me that she wouldn’t buy the guy next cube over a silent keyboard. This guy is loud, and when he gets on instant messaging, he loves to hear himself type. I don’t. Boss said to ket some headphones. So … . .it took a while to adjust to the million radio stations that stream their music over the internet. Found a “world music” program that is killier. I have fallen in love with Lila Downs ( I also love Hawaiian music all day, lots of good guitar. is cool because I can design my own radio stations. Got one on Bob Dylan and also a swing one. I just click on the song I really like and put it on my wish list and someday I will be a $30 swing dj (.99 per song) with only hits I like on a CD. I guess I better stop now. Got a noisy place where I work. Boss doesn’t get it.


two monitors? There are two monitors on the Mac I test my java applications on and I can’t stand it.

I coould make a lot better use of 2+ comupters with a keyboard switchable KVM (I use 2 PC’s this way at home). A windows install with my SQL server etc on it and a Linux install on the other would be great.

Compiling only takes a few minutes at its worse… but Creating indexes on and upgradeing existing customers Databases can take %100 CPU power and all of my Memory, for a good chunk of time. Not to mention easy access to a networked computer and diferent OS’s is great.


I must disagree on the fast computer. It has been like 20 years since compiling an app took more than a minute or so. I say give the programmer the same computer the average user will have, I bet the performance of the apps they write will be a heck of a lot better if they have to feel their user’s pain.

Righto… my users really use Eclipse, or Tomcat, or Jonas.

You ain’t never crashed a kernel, or driver obviously

Nope. When I do maybe a 2nd PC might be useful. Until then the second LCD makes more sense, no?


I am michael the most handsome guy in our office…

they should add this…



(proposed in Philippines)every programmer must have a salary higher than minimum wage(God damn it!)…


I complained for a few months that my computer was sub standard to develop on. I was ignored.

One day my boss gave me an assignment and handed me a bunch of CDs to install.

I asked, “So, what do you want me to do with these?”

He replied “Install them.”

I confused i asked, “On who’s computer”?

“Yours”, now getting mad with me.

“How?”, I again asked.

“Your kidding right, you put them into your computer and…”, getting more mad.

“And what? If i just put them in my computer nothing will happen, if you get me that CD drive i’ve been asking for then maybe i can use that to…”

I don’t work there any more.


I’m not so sure that the benefits of dual monitors is well documented. all of the links are broken.

Anyone have a current link I can use as evidence for multiple monitors for my team?



I would like to propose an amendment to #6, Every programmer shall have quiet working conditions.

I agree with this, but believe that it should include all forms of distractions not controlled by the developer. Perhaps it should read “Every programmer shall have distrationless working conditions”.

My office recently switched to shorter cubicle walls and it can be very distracting when people walk by. Although the noise is definitely a problem, the constant looking up whenever somebody walks by is driving me nuts! :slight_smile: