Welcome to The Long View—where we peruse the news of the week and strip it to the essentials. Let’s work out what really matters.
This week: Golang goes from zero to hero, will Broadcom buy VMware? And limitless vacation is still a Thing.
1. How Did Go Get so Popular?
First up this week: Google’s Golang is a huge success, according to a paper published by the venerable Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). What’s the secret to its success?
Analysis: Go go gadget Golang
The ACM paper says Go has “grown in popularity when so many other language projects have not.” Of course, the paper was co-authored by Ken and the Robs—so they would say that, wouldn’t they?
Russ Cox, Robert Griesemer, Rob Pike, Ian Lance Taylor and Ken Thompson are speaking our language: The Go Programming Language and Environment
Why has Go grown in popularity when so many other language projects have not? … Go is efficient, easy to learn, and freely available, but we believe that what made it successful was the approach it took toward writing programs, particularly with multiple programmers working on a shared codebase … aspects that are not usually foremost in language design.
Like-minded developers … valued the result: Easy concurrency, clear dependencies, scalable development and production, secure programs, simple deployment, automatic code formatting, tool-aided development, and more. … Not everyone was a fan—for instance, some people objected to the way the language omitted common features such as inheritance and generic types. But Go’s development-focused philosophy was intriguing and effective enough.
Today, Go is the foundation for critical infrastructure at every major cloud provider. … Go 1.18, released in March 2022, includes the first version of a true change to the language, one that has been widely requested—the first cut at parametric polymorphism. … Making such a large language change while staying true to the principles of consistency, completeness, and community will be a severe test of the approach.
By far the most common reason developers avoided Go was that it didn’t support ‘generics,’ which made it inefficient to write code for different data types. But as of version 1.18, [as the] Go team explained at the time, “users can consolidate that code into a single routine … with the same type of safety that Go has always provided.”
But it’s not universally popular. Allow molarmass192 to explain:
I’ve done production work with just about every language that exists. … It’s really hard to deviate from the “expected” way to write Go, and that’s the whole point. There are no affordances for clever abstractions and tricks in Go, and the payoff is the code is (usually) instantly familiar, has predictable overhead, and is relatively performant.
The compiler is top notch, the tooling arguably the best out there, the test env is a stroke of genius, and the language is dead simple. People who dislike Go tend to be [devs] whose code is unintelligible to anyone but themselves, since they have some “Einstein level” insight into how to meld inheritance and abstractions to completely obfuscate a codebase.
2. Broadcom Buys VMware—Allegedly
Hardware giant buys cloud software king: In one of the biggest mergers of the past six months, it could be quite the payday for VMware’s investors. But why Broadcom?
Analysis: A billion here, a billion there—pretty soon you’re talking real money
Michael Dell owns about a third of VMware—roughly $16 billion of paper—and there’s speculation he’ll hold out for more than is currently on the table. But some are predicting a culture clash, which might spell trouble for VMware.
Cara Lombardo and Dana Cimilluca quote “people familiar with the matter”: Broadcom in Talks to Pay About $60 Billion for VMware
Broadcom Inc. is in talks to pay around $60 billion for VMware Inc., … in what would be one of the biggest takeover deals of the year. … The software company has a strong position in the market for hybrid cloud.
[They] are aiming to announce a cash-and-stock deal worth about $140 a share on Thursday, assuming the talks don’t fall apart. … A price of $140 a share would represent a premium of nearly 50% to where VMware closed Friday, but is still well below the high of more than $200 the stock reached in the spring of 2019.
Dell founder Michael Dell remains chairman of VMware. He and private-equity firm Silver Lake … together control a more-than-50% stake. … VMware is roughly a year into a new regime after company veteran Raghu Raghuram took over the role of chief executive when Pat Gelsinger departed to run Intel Corp.
Dell? Here’s Giles Turner:
Michael Dell holds a roughly $16.2 billion stake in VMware [so] once again finds himself at the center of one of his industry’s biggest deals. … Assuming Broadcom offered a … 34.1% premium … that would still only value VMware at around $54 billion—and it’s unclear whether that would be enough for Dell.
The 57-year old founder of Dell … isn’t shy about getting into a corporate fight. He took his eponymous PC maker private in 2013 in a $24.9 billion deal in the face of fierce opposition from renowned activist investor Carl Icahn. Around three years later, he led a $67 billion acquisition of EMC.
Can you say “super culture clash”? fred_is_fred can:
This will be interesting. Broadcom is run like more a hedge fund … and the CEO is super hands-on—even reviewing comp packages for most new hires. He also was super big on “come into the office or else,” even during high covid periods. … You’d rotate through the team: Everyone else was at home, but you were taking calls while physically sitting in the office which checked some box in the guy’s head.
3. Would you Like Unlimited Vacation Days?
Call it UPTO, UPDO, open leave, unlimited vacation or what you will. It’s one of the tools in the HR toolbox for combating The Great Resignation. But does it work?
Analysis: Leave unopened the “open leave” gift-horse
Nay-sayers say … well, “nay,” obviously. The problem is that UPTO usually makes people take less vacation, not more. Great in theory, lousy in practice.
Amy Yee and Tom Metcalf: Goldman Sachs Allows Senior Staff to Take Unlimited Vacation
[It’s] the latest move by a Wall Street bank to retain talent in a heated job market. … Junior employees still have limits on vacation but will be given at least two extra days off each year. … All Goldman employees will be required to take three weeks off each year starting in 2023 … according to a company memo.
The unlimited vacation policy may have limited impact in practice. A 2017 study … found that employees at firms with open-ended holiday allowances typically ended up taking fewer days off a year than under traditional systems. [But] Goldman’s boost to its vacation entitlements may help soften the blow from the removal of various pandemic-era benefits.
Unlimited holiday allowance is a perk increasingly common at tech companies, including Netflix. … It reflects how competitive the jobs market has become just as companies from Wall Street to Silicon Valley are seeking to roll back workplace policies implemented during the Covid-19 pandemic. … The bank has been one of the most aggressive among financial firms to push for a return to office.
“Sounds great—until it’s not,” says Bryan Lufkin:
What sounds like an amazing benefit comes with major caveats. Workers will likely only take a decent amount of holiday if firms create an environment that encourages them to do so.
UPTO isn’t the benefit that workers covet the most; rather than an unlimited amount of holiday, most people prize flexibility, including the option to work from home. … There are also a number of companies that have experimented with UPTO only to end the policy and pronounce it a failure: … London-based recruiting company Unknown … cancelled its UPTO scheme after people felt guilty and never took time off. … The conversation of how to change … work cultures is far from over.
But so what? Seems like a “managing upwards” problem. Sign me up. lister king of smeg is not a fan:
It depends. If its anything like my toxic workplace … corporate policies [are] not only not enforced—and have no enforcement mechanism—but management actively ignore them and will get you penalized for some other bull**** like low productivity if you take advantage of these policies.