Subject: Re: engineering counts
From: Stephen J. Turnbull <>
Date: 23 Oct 2001 01:38:40 +0900

>>>>> "Forrest" == Forrest J Cavalier, <Forrest> writes:

    Forrest> Stephen J. Turnbull <> wrote:
    >> "Nearly all of the existing open source software is worth some
    >> fraction of the face value to a CMM 3+ organization."  That
    >> value is by definition equal to max{0, (cost of doing it from
    >> scratch) - (cost of inspecting and upgrading to internal
    >> standards)}.

    Forrest> You forgot a term.

I didn't.  It was in the next paragraph.  I omitted "(cost of
identifying, obtaining, and rejecting packages to find those worthy of
inspection)" from the equation deliberately because it is an overhead
cost, and therefore not quantifiable in the same terms.  Among other
things, it should be susceptible to cost reduction through
capabilities management.  Also, Tom's strategy is predicated on
improving the CM in OSS projects.

Either way, I see no guarantee that the net will be non-positive,
which was your original assertion.

    Forrest> CMM 5 processes are so rare and unique that I think no
    Forrest> CMM 5 is going to want to risk acquisition of software
    Forrest> from any other process, even if it were CMM 5.

That's interesting.  You mean CMM 5 processes use internally written
BIOSes on their PCs?  They insist on internally written MUAs and MTAs?
Their accountants use only in-house software?  They write their own
revision-control software?  Compilers?  System libraries?  Sorts?
Hashes?  Databases?  GUI libraries?

Where do you draw the line?  Presumably somewhere past accounting
software, but any of the others could be in-house-only or acquirable,
depending on the "core competence".  But that is devilishly hard to
define, no?  And it will certainly vary from organization to
organization and project to project.

I tend to agree with your assessment of the viability of Tom's
concept, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't look very hard at the
assumptions that lead to that negative assessment.  Maybe we can find
one that isn't true, and get rich.

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