Agriculture 🌱 VS IT 💻️

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Categories: blog

This is a kind of article that lists the commonalities between agriculture and computer science. Maybe a little biased at the end...

⚠️ Spoiler alert, there are going to be some platitudes that may not be very interesting if you know the subject.

1: There's no way this is going to work


Every time I sow seeds, I tell myself that the chances of harvesting anything are slim if you take into account germination rates, diseases, pests, mechanical failures.

Yet, almost every time, it's not necessarily perfect, but it ends up working.

Computer science

When you change a line of code, compile, deploy, launch. And you see all the reasons why it might not work, it's discouraging.

Knowing that the slightest misplaced bit is enough to bring everything down, what are the chances that everything will go right?

We're also so used to Murphy's law that when we know all the reasons why a program can crash, we think it's impossible for it to ever work.

But it does work

It's strange to realize that these jobs (like our lives) we are dependent on forces beyond our control. Or that you can spend your life trying to deepen your knowledge without ever mastering more than a tiny part of all the processes at play in our simplest little everyday actions.

All this because :

2: Still standing on the shoulders of giants 🐘


When we collect seeds we collect the result of millions of years of evolution of adaptation through natural selection. Then thousands of years of human selection.

There is also the material: the industry: the combustion engine, the single-seed drill, the weather forecast. We plant seeds on heaps of natural and technical processes.

Computer science

We just take advantage of the work of many contributors like I said

Free boiler plates

Whether it's in IT or agriculture, effortlessly, we have war machines at our disposal: factories with lots of pipes in everywhere.

And in some cases, you only have to bend down to acquire them.

But whose work tool is it?


The basis of agriculture is seeds. The big industrial groups have understood this and have set up a seed catalog that allows them to commercialize, i.e. to guarantee the behavior of the plants under certain conditions: they sell the seeds, the phytosanitary products, a quantity of fertilizer and they are guaranteed a yield. This is convenient, but the farmer is then enslaved (price, and way of working) to institutions whose only goal is to generate profits.

On the other hand, farmer seeds (population, generally old varieties abandoned after the arrival of chemistry in agriculture) do not guarantee a result in yield but have a genetic diversity within their seed lot that will allow them to adapt through a selection over several years.

The farmer becomes his own breeder. This requires a little more effort and knowledge.

Seeds are not in the catalog, they do not guarantee a very precise behavior but are perfect to circulate for free from farmer to farmer on a given territory.

Thanks to seeds, the multi-national agribusinesses have managed to take over the work tools of farmers (even though they are business leaders).

Computer science

What a funny idea, when free solutions exist, to choose paying ones and especially those whose source code is not published so that we are dependent on the seller, in terms of functioning, performance and especially security.

Here too, with a little involvement, we can easily recover the sovereignty over our information technologies. And for small IT craftsmen like me: to have the luxury of owning and controlling my work tool.

It's political"_ said Didier Wampas

Here's an analogy, for what it's worth: Google, Microsoft, Bayer, Sygenta, same battle. They provide services that enslave us.

Once we can't do anything without them, they have an unimaginable power: influence on the populations, their food, their way of life, they shape humanity the way they want. But we didn't really ask them, thank you very much.

Although the problem is mainly a national political one, we can still fight at our own level by trying to gain sovereignty in our decisions with peasant seeds and open source software.

  • Of course this requires a bit more work and knowledge. But both areas are full of passionate geeks who will be happy to assist you.
  • We will have a little less (performance, digital services) but it will be better.

At a time when we are talking about collapse, pandemics or turboponies invasion, these solutions bring resilience. Low tech (low resource techno and old varieties) is a good tool to make human life sustainable and less hard (or if we are less optimistic: to make human survival more bearable)