for sale etiquette?

From: der Mouse <mouse_at_Rodents.Montreal.QC.CA>
Date: Wed May 26 20:15:53 2004

>> I remember a very knowledgeable acquaintance of many years ago whose
>> business card read "Software Craftsperson".
> Even in computing contexts, many people would say that methodical and
> consistent development work, i.e. the kind of thing someone familiar
> with Knuth and who is a trained software engineer, is better than
> something 'hacked together' by one guy at 4 in the morning.

The former is more likely to be good. The latter is more likely to be
brilliant. (Of course, in a world in far greater need of a lot of good
software than a few pieces of brilliant software....)

Also, the best hackers tend to also be good software engineers, though
it can take a decade or so if they have to learn things the hard way.

> This is a very debatable topic, of course. But the myth of the
> 'greatest software' coming out of hacking sessions is generally
> rather dubious.

Well, there's some truth lurking in it; the greatest software usually
grows from a small seed, and that small seed is often the result of a
week of all-nighters or some such, and almost invariably the product of
a single mind.

Of course, that small seed is usually very much a hack job, the sort of
thing TNHD describes in the "Berkeley Quality Software" entry. (That's
the distinction between good and brilliant that I drew above.)

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Received on Wed May 26 2004 - 20:15:53 BST

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