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Ghosts of Unix past, part 4: High-maintenance designs

Dec 06, 2010, 15:02 (7 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Neil Brown)

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"The bible portrays the road to destruction as wide, while the road to life is narrow and hard to find. This illustration has many applications in the more temporal sphere in which we make many of our decisions. It is often the case that there are many ways to approach a problem that are unproductive and comparatively few which lead to success. So it should be no surprise that, as we have been looking for patterns in the design of Unix and their development in both Unix and Linux, we find fewer patterns of success than we do of failure.

"Our final pattern in this series continues the theme of different ways to go wrong, and turns out to have a lot in common with the previous pattern of trying to "fix the unfixable". However it has a crucial difference which very much changes the way the pattern might be recognized and, so, the ways we must be on the look-out for it. This pattern we will refer to as a "high maintenance" design. Alternatively: "It seemed like a good idea at the time, but was it worth the cost?".

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