Subject: Re: rocket science
From: "Forrest J. Cavalier III" <>
Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2005 17:30:50 -0500

Tom Lord wrote:

> Perhaps, as recognition spreads that most of us in the FSB world are
> involved in life critical development, we'll start moving in the
> direction of the shuttle software program.

It isn't news that Walmart purchasing techniques are being mainstreamed.
No need to think about life critical systems to make your point there.

But the conclusions you draw are different.  I'd say the lesson for us
programmers is that purchasers don't pay more, they just switch suppliers.

And I disagree with the premise that FOSS developers are disadvantaged
compared to proprietary, either individually or organizationally here.

I'd say FOSS has nothing to worry about, mostly because proprietary and
FOSS do the same poor job: programmers develop software by basically throwing
code onto the canvas with all sorts of bugs, and then take them out one
at a time.  It's art with rules, until you get to CMM 4 or 5, and even
then there is still some art: all results depend on the talent of the
workers to some extent.

FOSS will incorporate more rules to keep up just fine.  Just look at how
many FOSS packages ship with 'make test' now, and even build on 3 different
machine/compiler platforms.  5-10 years ago that was very different.

Look at how many people expose their process and bug tracking via sourceforge now.
A lot of packages there don't use it to full profit, but 5 years from now, I
expect that to have improved.  (Maybe only because people don't have to waste
so much time on supporting so many platforms anymore, like in the bad old days
of *nix...)