It is hard to say wether the boss is an idiot (...) Management is easier said than done. I would wish every geek to hold a management position at least once in his life (...) it would improve their view of the world and help them to cope with managers in the future.
I agree with the part that management is easier said than done. But so is coding, so is engineering... That doesn't change the fact that it was a terrible way to manage the situation.
Different people have different skills. Having all developers being managers for a day wouldn't help at all. Just as I'm expected to be a good developer, the manager is expected be a good manager. This is the type of decision taken by someone that has no idea what the real problem is. And not understanding the problems of your department is a sign of bad management...
Now, if this would classify most managers in the world as idiots, this is another discussion. Most developers in the world have absolutely no idea how code should be written, still, they are the majority.
I am pretty sure, that the official reason is not the real reason. My best guess is that other employees have complained about the privilege of the programmers (listening music while working).
I agree that this definitely happens in the office, but that doesn't change the fact that this is a terrible management decision. I could argue that the sales guy has the privilege of going out every day while I need to be at the office coding. To make things even, he must be denied the "privilege" to go out to clients, because it is technically possible to sell things by phone or using the internet.
I mean, you are right, these things happen. But the manager that handles this situation like this is an idiot. I had one like this before, and the department had a party when he was fired...
Working without music is fine, as long as there isn't any noise to avert your concentration.
That may work for you, but not for me. I MUST listen to something when I'm doing something serious. And by that I mean that project I really enjoy working on, that code I want finish. Otherwise I can't concentrate. For regular boring work, I don't mind silence... but I tend to forget about the rest of the world easier when I don't hear the sound of phones, keyboards, people talking...And silence won't help. I tend to keep remembering guitar solos during the day that if I don't listen to then I guarantee I won't be able to focus enough to do something really good.
Different people focus in different ways. This manager is just crazy to think he will see any good outcome from this. The only thing that will happen is he will get a lot of unsatisfied employees and less work done.
What happens is that some music gets stuck in your mind, and as you grow old, the rest of the world changes and you can't find new music that you like anymore, so you stick with the ones you already like.
I bet in 40 years or so, you will be like this too, listening to the same old MP3 you have for 30+ years while your son and grandson make fun of how you listen only to that old crap and how the new format is much better because you can change the instruments while you listen, or change the singer... and you will wonder why the hell they care about that.
Frankly I dunno why people are still so enamored of pirating music when there is so much GOOD stuff out there that's 100% free, legal, and sanctioned by the artists that you could listen to new music every moment of your life without spending a dime.
Well, that is quite of an stupid argument if you think about. The reason is very simple: because people want to hear that specific person singing that specific song. I could open youtube and get 50 covers of pink floyd, but listening to Davig Gilmour and his feeling is much better.
I agree that there are good stuff out there for free, but that doesn't exclude the good paid stuff that is already out there too. Having the milk available doesn't stop people from wanting cookies.
So, they have the studio albums they sell, and don't allow people to distribute it. And people usually don't, because the live versions are available for free. And still, they have a huge fan base, enough to do about 20 shows every month. This probably works very well for them. Not everyone can do it, but it surely works as an alternative model for a lot of bands.
The funny fact is that the same people that say that Linux or any other open source software is created by lonely nerds, at the same time see nothing wrong with wikipedia, tvtropes, blogs, twitter, facebook, etc.
So, the bottom line is: if a software is is created by individuals, it is a huge pile of crap done by lonely nerds that have nothing better to do in life. Anything else is actually a great experience that shows how powerful individual contributions are, and how they can change the world.