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osOpinion: Be An Engineer, Not An Artist

Jul 06, 2000, 05:50 (10 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Monty Manley)


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[ Thanks to Kelly McNeill for this link. ]

"There is a lot to be said for art, but there is still more to be said for *craft*. The hard fact is that the important parts of writing a good program are the boring parts -- the "sexy" stuff is usually less than 30% of the project. Unfortunately, Open Source projects tend to stall when the "sexy" stuff is done. The developers lose interest and move on to other "sexy" stuff. If you consider the high-profile projects (Mozilla, AbiWord, Samba, etc.), you discover that about 10% of the developers do 90% of the work -- in other words, all those legions of programmers do essentially nothing for the project."

"I'd like to see Open Source software submitted to some kind of formal code-review and auditing process. Not only would it improve the quality of the code, it would reduce the endless security exploits that have deviled Unix code for three decades. OpenBSD should be a model here -- that OS has not had a remote root exploit in more than two years! However, I doubt this will happen; there is too much ego and testosterone floating around the Open Source community to make such a thing work."

"I believe in Open Source, but the promise of "better software" isn't materializing, despite all the noise to the contrary. The *process* won't do it; the *developers* have to do it. We need to be engineers first and artists second."

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