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Bedroom programming refers to the different types of amateur programming, in contrast to a highly controlled or corporate programming process.
Definitions of "bedroom programming" can vary quite a bit. Some define bedroom programming as amateur programming that is not done for profit. In other definitions, the term simply refers to the projects of programmers who are "going it alone" rather than working directly in a corporate office environment.
Some define or describe bedroom programming in terms of certain principles that programmers used back in the days when computer programming was more accessible and more people programmed from their homes or independently of big corporations. There is an argument to be made that, along with a corporatized form of computer programming, where venture capital firms back strictly modeled development processes, the use of modern tools like application programming interfaces (APIs) and libraries has changed the essential ways that programmers function and the ways that they develop technology. For example, some people would say that bedroom programming is an attempt to put the power back in the hands of the lone individual or to go back to the nostalgic days when amateur programmers practiced their craft unencumbered by templating or framework tools such as APIs. It is the idea that, rather than using collectively developed systems, amateur programmers just worked with raw code and raw hardware to "do their own thing."
As a statement about the essential nature of programming, the idea of bedroom programming can be useful as developers and programmers examine their methods and their techniques, and how they apply to the software industry, for instance, whether the industry has indeed become too corporate and would benefit from a return to some fundamental ideals about programming that held true back in the 1980s. In promoting and considering bedroom programming, some IT professionals also look at the use of more primitive technologies of that era to better understand how forms of bedroom programming would work.