Alas, you can't have one without the other. Fighting distractions will also drive off the party invitations. Hiding your email address means that the one person who wants to find you will be pulling out their hair looking for a way to contact you. In most cases, they'll simply move on.
Developer hard truth No. 8: Trust isn't cheap
The promise of Web 2.0 sounded wonderful. Just link your code to someone else's and magic happens. Your code calls theirs, theirs calls yours, and the instructions dance together like Fred and Ginger.
If only it were that easy. First, you have to fill out all these forms before they let you use their code. In most cases, your lawyers will have a fit because the forms require you to sign away everything. What do you get in return? Hand-waving about how your code will maybe get a response from their code some of the time. Just trust us.
Who could blame them, really? You could be a spammer, a weirdo, or a thief who wants to leverage Web 2.0 power to work a scam. They have to trust you, too.
And the user gets to trust both of you. Privacy? Sure. Everyone promises to use the best practices and the highest-powered encryption software while sharing your information with everyone under the sun. Don't worry.
The end result is often more work than you want to invest in a promise that kinda, sorta delivers.
Developer hard truth No. 9: Bitrot happens
When you start, you can grab the latest versions of the libraries and everything works for a week or two. Then version 1.0.2 of library A comes along, but it won't work with the latest version of library B because A's programmers have been stuck on the previous big release. Then the programmers working on C release some new feature that your boss really wants you to tap. Naturally it only works with version 1.0.2.
When houses and boats rot, they fall apart in one consistent way. When code rots, it falls apart in odd and complex ways. If you really want C, you have to give up B. If you choose B, you'll have to tell your boss that C isn't a real option.
This example used only three libraries. Real projects use a dozen or more, and the problems grow exponentially. To make matters worse, the rot doesn't always present itself immediately. Sometimes it seems like the problem is only in one unimportant corner that can be coded around. But often this tiny incompatibility festers and the termites eat their way through everything until it all collapses.
The presence of bitrot is made all the more amazing by the fact that computer code doesn't wear out. There are no moving parts, no friction, no oxidation, and no carbon chains acting as bait for microbes. Our code is an eternal statement that should be just as good in 100 years as it was on the day it was written. Yet it isn't.
The only bright spots are the emulators that allow us to run that old Commodore 64 or Atari code again and again. They're wonderful museums that keep code running forever -- as long as you fight the bitrot in the emulator.
Developer hard truth No. 10: The walled garden will flourish
For all the talk about the importance of openness, there's more and more evidence that only a small part of the marketplace wants it. To make things worse, they're often not as willing to pay for the extra privilege. The free software advocates want free as in speech and free as in beer. Few are willing to pay much for it.
That may be why the biggest adopters of Linux and BSD come wrapped in proprietary code. Devices like TiVo may have Linux buried inside, but the interface that makes them great isn't open. The same goes for the Mac.