Subject: Re: rocket science
From: Bernard Lang <>
Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2005 13:26:53 +0100

* Steven J. Hill <>, le 27-02-05, a écrit:
> Brian Behlendorf wrote:
> >
> >It does, at the end:
> >
> >  And money is not the critical constraint: the groups $35 million per
> >  year budget is a trivial slice of the NASA pie, but on a
> >  dollars-per-line basis, it makes the group among the nation's most
> >  expensive software organizations.
> >
> >Um, yeah.  Dollars-per-line(-per-year!) is about as relevant as 
> >lines-of-code-per-developer-hour in measuring anything, but relative to 
> >other projects (commercial or FLOSS) this is insanely high.  And having 
> >only one customer makes life pretty easy, too.
> >
> It is insanely high, but for a reason. I have, and still do develop 
> software for avionics and military products. The methodologies that
> we have to employ to make "error-free" code are necessary because
> FLOSS-type hacking cannot produce safety-critical code, period. Not
> because the people in FOSS are incapable, but because that is not
> their interest or concern. No one wants to spend the time to go
> through RTCA DO178 type processes, do complete code analysis and
> mathematical verification modeling to see if they really did it
> right to the maximum. Completely different requirements and operating
> environments.
> -Steve

There is no theorem that says that FLOSS should be related to hacking.

I do expect that in the future, fairly heavy tools will be used to
produce reliable FLOSS (I am thinking of mathematically checked
tools), at least where components are concerned.  Building systems is
another matter, and I am not sure what it means for a rocket control
system to be free anyway.