I was reading this slashdot article today, "Would You Add Easter Eggs To Software Produced At Work?" Obviously the answer is, "depends" but far too many people were arguing that the answer is "no, absolutely not, it's completely unacceptable under any circumstances." They all had horrible reasons behind their stance and it really could all be boiled down to a complete and utter lack of personality. Here are their arguments, and my counter-arguments:
It certainly could be. Depends on your Easter Egg. If your Easter Egg is a pop-up window with a picture of the naked development team, I would call that unprofessional (unless you're in the porn industry). If your Easter Egg is a picture of your development team that wouldn't offend your grandmother, I would call that tasteful and safe.
Apparently it's unethical to write any code, regardless of how harmless it is, without management consent. I don't necessarily think it needs to be without consent in order to be Easter Egg. It's an egg hunt for the users, not for the company. I'm of the impression most of these Easter Eggs were done with full authorization. I would agree that unauthorized code is unethical, but I don't see why this has to be the case.
"It could introduce bugs/it inhibits functionality"
One poster went as far as quoting statistics related to total lines of code and expected number of defects and bugs. Clearly a complete lack of understanding of statistics. In a random sample of code those stats are valuable, but when you're limiting yourself to a specific category it's just useless. I replied by asking that poster when was the last time he tracked down a nasty bug to the About window of his software. As to the functionality argument, most people have used Microsoft products for a long time, and despite all the pain and suffering that caused, I doubt any of it was related to the hidden code linked above.
I leave you with one cool Easter Egg to all my Macbook Pro pals:
- Open a Terminal window
- Type "say -v Good" <enter>
- Type a long string of "oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo" spanning about 9 lines (A shorter string does work if you have no patience, John--but you won't get the complete effect). Hit <enter>
- Enjoy (or be pissed off at the lack of professionalism, ethics, and overall usability of your mac and the "say" command)