Subject: Re: rocket science
From: Tom Lord <lord@emf.net>
Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2005 11:19:08 -0800 (PST)



   From: "Forrest J. Cavalier III" <mibsoft@mibsoftware.com>

   [The examples reported on RISKS have not yet caused wide-scale
    economic disruption you think they never will.  Business
    is concerned with real things, not imagined risks]

Please consider the example of the computing systems that run
financial markets and the rise of intelligent consumerism
in the markets that purchase those systems.

In those markets, the risks I cite are taken quite seriously
and dominate spending decisions.

My claim here is that that's part of a trend:  comperable
levels of seriousness will spread to other segments of
the computing system industry as consumers recognize that
so much of what they value depends critically on computing
systems.

Source code and development process quality metrics will therefore
emerge from the esoteric labs of NASA and NASDAQ and become more
mainstream, especially in enterprise-level purchases.

Proprietary developers are currently in an advantaged position to
prepare for that spread of a concern for quality.

Free software developers are currently disadvantaged because 
social and structural issues present significant obstacles to
improving development processes and because some of the software
architectures we have collectively chosen have intrinsic quality
problems.

FSB leaders ought to be thinking and then acting, these days,
to overcome their disadvantages and overtake the advantages
of proprietary developers in these areas.

This will be a difficult task because it appears it will require
inter-firm cooperation in areas where it has not previously
taken root.  Generally speaking, FSB firms need to learn to cooperate
more on software development issues that can be described as "management
issues" as contrasted with "day-to-day hacker issues".

-t