1. Paul Graham’s article does not really note any big differences between hacking and painting. One thing he does mention, though, is that he influence of fashion is not nearly as strong in hacking as it is in painting. In other words hackers don’t need to worry quite so much about current popular taste or fads as much as painters do. He also mentions that he wished hacking could be more like painting, in that hackers would be more willing to start from scratch the way artists do so often. The last difference of note, according to Graham, is that hacking today is in its prime. Whereas painting, he argued peaked in its precision and skill in the 70 years between 1430-1500, hacking is just now experiencing it.
2. As for what hackers and painters have in common, Graham writes, that at the heart of it they are both “makers”. Hackers are trying to make interesting software with computers in much the same way that architects try to make interesting buildings with concrete. Above all, the process of writing computer software, he argues, should be a lot more like painting than what is commonly taught, it should be iterative and messy; the computer language working as a pencil that programmers can sketch with as they create and make decisions about what they are building in real-time. The two fields also share with each other a process of learning. This of course is learning from others and precedents, and most importantly learning from doing. Another similarity is that in hacking, like in the arts and applied arts, the projects you really want to work on are rarely the ones that pay any money. The solution to this is to adopt the day job life style, like many artists do, with side projects to fulfill their creative itch.
3. According to the authors description of hackers and painters, I would have to say that I am both (since they are not really different in his opinion) but also neither. While I am absolutely in love with the process of making and creating, I do not share such a great obsession with beauty. Surely it is something to strive for and admire, but it is not everything. In this sense I share something with the engineers and business people of the world. Things have a function, and in a world of finite means, sometimes it is more important to have something quickly, that is guaranteed to work, than a work of genius. Sometimes, perhaps, beauty is a luxury people cannot afford.