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Comment Re:We're sorry (Score 2, Interesting) 179

So having worked for Nokia previously (actually Symbian and then we got bought) I think the basic problem that they are trying to resolve is the sheer amount of dead weight the have in the organisaiton. There is a reason they have the most expensive and least productive R&D operation on the planet and that is because they get so little out of each employee. Most employees are jobsworths simply doing the minimum they can get away with without being fired.

Think about it, all those employees, and they couldn't be co-ordinated to create a winning platform. Whilst there is definitely a degree of management failure, there is also a severe lack of personal responsibility and accountability at the lowest levels of the organisation. Moreover, with the long running drip feed of redundancies over the last few years, most of the talented, motivated engineers have left.

The net result is that this has left a big soup of shit, that they call an R&D operation. I think that Elop has done the right thing by clearing the decks. Obviously a shame for some of the people, but life moves on. Once most of the existing people have gone, and legal obligations with regards to re-hiring roles you've made redundant have passed, I think Nokia will start re-building their R&D from the ground up to be more dynamic and more responsive to the market.

Jury is still out on weather the MS deal is the right thing, and it certainly has the smell of Elop being exposed to a single ecosystem for so long that he wasn't really able to properly evaluate alternatives, but it is probably worth a try in the face of Android genericism. Although given Microsoft's double-take on Silverlight recently it's already starting to look a bit wonky.

Interesting times.

Comment Re:this is happeneing not just in the games indust (Score 1) 422

So this is basic project management. In any project you have control over 4 things: Scope, Time, Budget and Quality. In the context of a software project, this basically boils down 1) to the set of requirements or features that you want to implement, the 2) duration of the tasks that are necessary to implement said scope, and 3) the number and quality of the engineers you have available to implement the scope, and 4) how much time you spend on testing the fuck out of whatever it is you created. There is interplay between all 4 axes.
Different software engineering approaches deal with these variables in different ways. "Waterfall" methodology basically tries to nail down all 4, but in reality tends to result in variation in quality. You deliver on-time, you deliver the required (as documented) scope on time, but the quality sucks. Agile methodologies favour nailing down time (fixed iterations, time-boxes etc), budget (you have n engineers), and quality (you have a "definition of done", continuous integration etc) but scope can vary.

This isn't anything new.

Sounds to me like the managers (project & engineering) in the gaming industry along with their senior management are a bit retarded, and are living in the 80s as far as programmer heroics are concerned. There's only so much you can keep that up before your developers hate you.

Then again, I used to work at Symbian and the Symbian OS' future does not seem so bright these days so what do I know :-)

PC Games (Games)

Future Ubisoft Games To Require Constant Internet Access 497

Following up on our discussion yesterday of annoying game distribution platforms, Ubisoft has announced the details of their Online Services Platform, which they will use to distribute and administer future PC game releases. The platform will require internet access in order to play installed games, saved games will be stored remotely, and the game you're playing will even pause and try to reconnect if your connection is lost during play. Quoting Rock, Paper, Shotgun: "This seems like such a bizarre, bewildering backward step. Of course we haven't experienced it yet, but based on Ubi’s own description of the system so many concerns arise. Yes, certainly, most people have the internet all the time on their PCs. But not all people. So already a percentage of the audience is lost. Then comes those who own gaming laptops, who now will not be able to play games on trains, buses, in the park, or anywhere they may not be able to find a WiFi connection (something that’s rarely free in the UK, of course – fancy paying the £10/hour in the airport to play your Ubisoft game?). Then there's the day your internet is down, and the engineers can’t come out to fix it until tomorrow. No game for you. Or any of the dozens of other situations when the internet is not available to a player. But further, there are people who do not wish to let a publisher know their private gaming habits. People who do not wish to report in to a company they’ve no affiliation with, nor accountability to, whenever they play a game they’ve legally bought. People who don’t want their save data stored remotely. This new system renders all customers beholden to Ubisoft in perpetuity whenever they buy their games."

MySQL Cofounder Says Oracle Should Sell Database To a Neutral 3d Party 207

alphadogg writes "Oracle should resolve antitrust concerns over its acquisition of Sun Microsystems by selling open-source database MySQL to a suitable third party, its cofounder and creator Michael 'Monty' Widenius said in a blog post on Monday. Oracle's $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun is currently being held up by an investigation by the European Commission. The Commission's main concern seems to be MySQL, which was acquired by Sun in January 2008 for $1 billion. A takeover by the world's leading proprietary database company of the world's leading open source database company compels the regulator to closely examine the effects on the European market, according to remarks made by Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes last month. The key objective by Widenius is to find a home outside Oracle for MySQL, where the database can be developed and compete with existing products, including Oracle's, according to Florian Mueller, a former MySQL shareholder who is currently working with Monty Program AB on this matter." Richard Stallman agrees.

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