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+ - Is Agile the new silver bullet?

Submitted by plopez
plopez writes: Agile is becoming, at least in my experience, the latest in a long line of silver bullets. Questions are arising about it applicability and articles are appearing criticizing the approach. A practice often considered best for smaller projects is being pressed into large corporate projects with far flung team members. The spawns articles such as the one recently submitted on Slashdot and even is getting into the act:

So what are the limitations of the Agile process? Is it over sold? What can be done to preserve the best parts of the approach in the face of what may be growing backlash?

+ - The Isolation of Academia and the Private Sector

Submitted by
plopez writes: "The ask Slashdot
recent posting "Ask Slashdot: Successful software from academia" asked a good question but I think also missed a larger issue.

The programming I have seen in Academia has been poor, probably worse than the private sector. OOP seems to be unheard of and is often taught by those who only heard of it a few weeks before they were required to teach the class. Ditto with Design Patterns, UML, unit testing, Agile Development, and the hard lessons from private sector death marches. The Application Developers in Academia are often poorly taught and undisciplines, more so than what I have seen in the private sector.

In addition outside of a few areas such as games, databases, and graphics; learning from Academia often doesn't make it into the mainstream. E.g. algorithm analysis should be a basic given for any working programmer, I know I did it when working as a programmer. But when I tried to explain why a bubble sort was a bad idea I was often met with blank stares. Or why using a DOM XML parser on large data sets instead of a SAX based parser was a bad idea. Or how to hack a SAX parser when needed, which involves tree searches and push-down stacks. Both push-down stacks and tree searches should be Sophomore level programming and in every programmers toolbox, even if only to assess whether a library based on these principles is a reasonable solution. Or self-referential programming, which is often skirting on the edges of AI (and in fact what some Design Patterns may be approaching). Another cool thing coming from Academia but yet seemingly unheard of is time-oriented databases (see Snodgrass who works at the University of Arizona if you are interested, there are some bizarre things that can happen if time is mishandled in databases).

The upshot is that Academia and the rest of the world seem to be isolated from each other. There is a wealth of experience in the private sector that doesn't seem to make it into Academia and vice versa. If I am wrong please correct me. And if you have ideas how to fix the problem please share them."

+ - Ask slash:What is the best copyright for a thesis? 2

Submitted by
plopez writes: "I am wrapping up an MS. In the past I have had problems getting copies of others' works due to lack of copyright notices on their thesis or dissertation. I don't want that happen to me. I know the joke is "No one will ever read your thesis", but in the slim chance it is useful to others I don't want them to be required to hunt me down for a release. Basically I want to say: "Copyright is released as long as this work or excerpts is properly attributed. Also, any published excerpts cannot be copyrighted by other parties, nor can the original work in its entirety.

Is this good enough? I don't want to encumber legitimate uses of the work but I also don't want some pirate coming along and stealing it out of public domain. Is public domain good enough? Or does it allow the work to be restricted by commercial interests? I know of copyleft, but copyleft is a family of copyright notices and I am unsure which one is right for my intent.

Please help. Stay on topic, don't respond to ACs who are trolling (I never do), and be polite.


I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the demigodic party. -- Dennis Ritchie