Index Computing

Thoughts on software development

It's been a while since I added any new pages to my web site.

I'll start this page with a bit of a rant against the OSS fantasy. Back when I was starting in software, say 1994 or so, I read "The Cathedral and the Bazar" by 'esr'. It's easily found with google, if you are interested. At the time I was doing research in a University. Not just a Cathedral, but an Ivory Tower!

It struck me that throwing a bunch of plebs at a problem did not seem a likely method to solve something in the domain of science and engineering. Why does anyone believe that this approach works for software development? Personally, I can think of no great breakthrough or discovery that has been achieved by thousands of mixed ability researchers, wearing the problem down by attrition.

That leaves us with OSS never really achieving anything of consequence, just knock-off copies of succesful applications developed by the likes of Microsoft, Adobe. Of course, there is also the use of the word Open by marketing departments. I also think that some private companies quite like getting the public to do some of their work for them.

Copyright © Paul John Floyd 2007

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