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Upside: Why software still sucks

Dec 13, 2000, 13:07 (21 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Sam Williams)

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"...The hardware side of computers keeps on getting better and cheaper at an exponential rate," writes Lanier. "[But] this breathtaking vista must be contrasted with the Great Shame of computer science, which is that we don't seem to be able to write software much better as computers get much faster."

"In the essay, Lanier takes a few digs at the open source community. Although an admitted fan of the open source development model, Lanier considers open source technologies such as the GNU/Linux operating system a prime example of how legacy software design -- in this case, the 30-year-old Unix operating system model -- imposes its will on even the most cutting-edge software systems."

"How I hated Unix back in the '70s -- that devilish accumulator of data trash, obscurer of function, enemy of the user," he writes. "If anyone had told me back then that getting back to embarrassingly primitive Unix would be the great hope and investment obsession of the year 2000, merely because its name was changed to Linux and its source code was opened up again, I never would have had the stomach or the heart to continue in computer science."

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