Is coding a process or an art?
I flipped on the radio today to catch the collaboration between Jay-Z and Punjabi MC. Jay-Z laid down some rhymes over top of Punjabi MC's bhangra beat, and the contrast in styles was very interesting and will no doubt bring Mundian To Bach Ke back to the clubs for another go-round.
This whole episode made me think of software: the open source community advocates collaboration and has a public license which encourages collaboration.
It seems that the creativity involved in modifying someone else's code is much like remixing or collaborating in music: you take the original and add your combination of process and creativity that results in an end product that is similar, yet different. You can violate conventions, but you have to do it well and do it with flair in order for the end result to be worthwhile.
I think this came to mind because I had earlier read this article: Understanding the Psychology of Programming...
"Contrary to popular belief, programmers more frequently resemble artists than scientists. If you want to maximize the creative potential on your development team, you've got to start thinking about the psychology of the programmer and be willing to back it up with management policy."