Subject: Re: engineering counts
From: "Forrest J. Cavalier III" <>
Date: Sat, 20 Oct 2001 14:45:11 -0400 (EDT)

> When I turn to an FSB website and find little besides the touting of
> "solutions" -- where solutions means particular pieces of software
> backed by vague "support" -- the engineer in me screams "amateurs!"
> and "trend followers!".  What I really want to find is visibility into
> the engineering process: org charts, workflows, testing procedures and
> results, status reports.... What I really want to see on "products and
> services" pages is, sure, shrink-wrapped solutions for low-budget
> customers but, beyond that, "here's how you get to interface to our
> engineering pipeline in deep and meaningful ways."

You must be from Pittsburgh.

(That's not an insult or anything.  I am a CMU ECE grad myself.)

For whatever reasons, software engineering and Free software
aren't well known to each other.  It isn't just Free software.
The overhead and delay introduced when following documented
processes is huge for a small gain in quality, plus quality
is an invisibile factor in just about all U.S. software markets.
(To readers outside the U.S.A: is it any different where you are?)

I expected this to change.  I started writing about how to marry
software engineering and open source shortly after I read CatB.
(The first draft of "Implications of Bazaar Size" was from 1997.  

But I have seen very few others writing about open source and
engineering in the intervening years.  That tells me buyers
and sellers aren't interested.

Exposing the process in "deep and meaningful ways" will
be attractive to a few customers, but not a majority.  The
majority of customers in a market will go for the biggest
bloated product, and quality and process used will be
either a checklist item or an afterthought.

I think believing that world-quality process is still
worthwhile despite that, and that the instrumentation
and channels necessary to expose it are still worthwhile
depends on where you are from.  (Which is what I meant
by saying you must be from Pittsburgh.)

Forrest J. Cavalier III, Mib Software  Voice 570-992-8824 has over 30,000 links to reusable
source, libraries, functions, applications, and documentation.