Friday, January 14, 2005

Damian Conway on the Software Problem

by Asim Jalis

Builder AU has an interview of Damian Conway (which is also posted on Slashdot). Here are some interesting comments that Damian made about the nature of software development: It seems that every few years a new development technique is hailed as the start of the Programming Renaissance, the Golden Age of Scientific Software Development. And none ever is. [...] Of course, the problem is not in these development tools. It's in us. All of these approaches are based on a false premise, the same desperate illusion that every programmer clings to: that the universe of problems to be solved is homogeneous, and that our task as programmers is predictable enough for one approach, one methodology, one language, one standard library to fit all problems. But the real world isn't like that -- no matter how much our politicians and our religious leaders and our advertising executives would like us to believe it. Our world is complex, and inconsistent, and piecemeal. And it's the same in the virtual worlds in which programmers work. The second half of that quote is: "The programmer is fighting against the two most destructive forces in the universe: entropy and human stupidity. They're not things you can always overcome with a 'methodology' or on a schedule." Here is a link to the interview:,39024614,39160082,00.htm