[kwlug-disc] given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow?

john at netdirect.ca john at netdirect.ca
Tue Feb 16 17:14:23 EST 2010


kwlug-disc-bounces at kwlug.org wrote on 02/16/2010 05:01:42 PM:
> 
> The many-eyeballs discussions, so far as I have seen, omit a disciplnary
> mechanism that seems important to me.  Frederick P. Brooks, Jr., in The
> Mythical Man-month was talking about hardware design and System/360 in
> particular, but it is easy to translate his comment for software.
> 
>         In most computer projects there comes a day when it is
>         discovered that the machine and the manual don't agree.  When
>         the confrontation follows, the manual usually loses, for it can
>         be changed far more quickly and cheaply than the machine.  Not
>         so, however, when there are multiple implementations.  Then the
>         delays and costs associated with fixing the the errant machine
>         can be overmatched by delays and costs in revising the mackines
>         that followed the manual faithfully.  (Addison-Wesley, 1982,
>         page 68)
> 
> I speculate that the absence of a disciplining need to adhere to the
> published API specification has absorbed quite some time from MS
> engineers maintining the office suite, and I can very easily imagine
> that the same kind of thing contributes to reputation that Internet
> Explorer has for reliability.  In promoting OOXML, which is darn nearly
> proprietary to Microsoft, Microsoft is setting up a temptation to
> inflict the needs of the moment upon the specification.

This hits at the architectural problems that I think MS has. Rather than 
learn from the decades of wisdom in Unix a new path was chosen, an 
untested new path, designed for single machines and trusted networks. Then 
the Internet hits and there are issues closing holes that are required by 
software and services. Then a new complex layer is put on to try and 
manage the insecurity. Look at Khalid's signature to see why Linux and 
Unix are better.

OOXL isn't darn nearly proprietary, it is. As I understand it, it has 
flags like "Format like Word '97" but there isn't a definition of how Word 
'97 formats.
 
> Mr. Brooks says clearly that that last temptation should be resisted.
> 
>         The architect of a system, like the architect of a building, is
>         the user's agent.  It is his job to bring professional and
>         technical knowledge to bear in the the unalloyed interest of the
>         user, as opposed to the interests of the salesman, the
>         fabricator, etc.  (page 45)
> 

Another good one Terry. It's clear from the Microsoft's own documents 
solicited by courts that MS cares more about trapping the user than acting 
in their best interest.

John Van Ostrand
Net Direct Inc.
 
CTO, co-CEO
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john at netdirect.ca
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Linux Solutions / IBM Hardware
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