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Journal Journal: Coding for posterity

My choir director tells us that composers didn't get serious about music notation until it dawned on them that they were performing music from previous composers long dead. They started to wonder: "Will musicians perform my stuff after I'm gone? What will they think of it? Will they do it right?" They started adding rests and more parts (they used to ad lib the base line) and accidentals and so forth. They added more commentary.

I guess I started thinking what would I do differently if I knew people would edit my code after I join the "cube farm invisible". I work on engineering code where some of the authors are dead.

I guess my thinking is this: Computers and programming are relatively new. We'ew just getting to the point where first batch of hackers are coughing up blood. Are we headed for a change in our practices because of the same type of self-conciousness that musicians got earlier? This conciousness of posterity?


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Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable. -- Gilb