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Comment Re:Divide-and-conquer is an art (Score 1) 281

Yes, I think "structured" means decomposing the problem into pieces, and also looking for ways to mass-produce those pieces so you don't write the same code five or six times with tiny changes. It's like someone saying "I want something like an ARM processor, but I don't need some of the instructions and I have a great idea for a new one, so let's make our own processor out of NAND gates." In hardware, the very idea sounds moronic, but somehow people design their software that way.

We had a subroutine to convert numbers to printable form on the screen. And a different subroutine to convert numbers to the printer. And another to print to the comm port. Oh, yes, of course, everything optimized for purpose . . . because one generic routine to format a buffer, and then use the buffer for whatever purpose, would cost an extra subroutine call. This was before OO, but even Algol and PL/1 and Pascal had structures - so we had all sorts of structures that were just one or two items different from each other, and OF COURSE they had no common subsets - the differences were in different places in each one because it just "seemed like where that variable belonged" instead of saying "Hey, all of these have the same 10 things plus one or two other things, how about a nested structure?" So OF COURSE we needed completely different routines to perform essentially the same functions on the ever-so-slightly-different structures. That's not design, or functional decomposition, it's just writing code.

Comment Re:Benefit to end users? (Score 1) 683

Yes. Like people, instead of like a project. So we wind up with a whole community of people, all pretty good, when all of those traits and advantages added to one project should have made a superman by now. (the biological / technological metaphor sort of collapses there. I'm thinking of making generations of people, all new and interesting but not better or more than before, vs. iterations of , say, Iron Man's suit, each a continual superset improvement.)

Comment Re:Who? (Score 1) 683

MS is using its own custom distro. Every different piece of hardware has its own custom distro. The work of the open source community towards a common project has been so fragmented (not to mention so co-opted) that it's not common. And on top of that, people treat each other like crap, so that good ideas become splinter schism religions instead of adding to one common greater good. There isn't one Linux; there are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of Linux-like or Linux-derived systems, with no real guarantee of complete interoperability. Maybe "Linux will never win" is an oversimplification, but I stand by it.

Comment Re:Benefit to end users? (Score 1) 683

Every person with an interesting new idea leaves, tries something new, probably abandons for lack of market. That continual splintering of attention, effort, and involvement is why IMHO Linux keeps not winning. Heck, every time Linux comes out in a mainstream product it's a variant or a fork or a mutant, so even if one could eventually say that Linux-like systems predominate, there's no one consistent winner.

Comment Re:Who? (Score 1) 683

He's not an employer. He's not paying. So the kind of person with enough talent and initiative to change jobs if an employer treated him this way, will CERTAINLY have the initiative to jump ship if there's no reward. This is why Linux will NEVER WIN - because any time it gets near a critical mass of brainpower and talent, it schisms because that brainpower and talent doesn't need to put up with each other, unlike the brainpower and talent that chooses to put up with corporate attitudes in exchange for a paycheck and stock options. In comic books the lone ninjas beat the marching army; in the real world the marching army eventually overruns the ninjas, especially if the ninjas aren't working together and are just as happy to kill each other.

Comment Priest points musket at child. Or "replica" "toy"? (Score 1) 920

Recent news: Priest in NJ arrested because someone saw him point a musket threatening a child wearing the wrong sports team jersey. Except the priest, and another person in the room, say the "musket" is a replica, never loaded or fired or even usable, and in context of the conversation it was all a joke to everyone involved - other than the person passing by the door and getting an out-of-context "snapshot" view of a man with a weapon just days after a mass shooting elsewhere. Lesson: Even the best people do things that can be misunderstood, and even saints probably looked like assholes now and then.

Comment Re:Divide-and-conquer is an art (Score 1) 281

Mod parent up, if I had any points. I worked on a project where the designer kept insisting that his design was decomposed and structured . . . yes, the little pieces all fit together - like a jigsaw puzzle, only one very specific way. "Structured" implies some kind of consistent interface, like Lego blocks that can be interchanged or moved or reused, not like a jigsaw puzzle.

Comment Re:I'm not convinced (Score 1) 281

Multics, on which Unix was based, was in the mid 1960s. OS370 had interprocess communication and multiprocess file access. Believe it or not, there WERE real computer systems before Unix and Linux, and don't let the garbage of DOS and Windows block your awareness of the tremendous amount of research and intelligent thought that had gone into systems before them.

Comment Re:Practical, not technical solution (Score 2) 115

Military. Maritime. Oil drilling. Film-making. Scientific research. Not everyone works in the same comfy chair in the same office every day, and some of them make excellent money - a cousin worked support staff on the Alaska pipeline, spent a 3-month stint each construction season and made a year's worth of money each time. The difference is, it used to mean being out of touch for the whole time you were away, and now you can have *some* contact.

Comment Isaac Asimov's Robot mysteries/debugging (Score 1) 392

Asimov had a series of stories involving robots with firm rules against doing harm, and the clever ways that humans could work around them and misuse them to do harm without specifically causing any one robot to break any rule. That's the position that staff and coders are in. Systems architects . . . need investigation.

Mirrors should reflect a little before throwing back images. -- Jean Cocteau