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chromatic (983)

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Friday March 11, 2005
07:54 PM

People to Ignore in Software Development

[ #23615 ]

When discussing feature requests, development practices, and design issues of any public software project, reasonable people will disagree. That's fine. It's normal. It happens. It can be healthy if you deal with them appropriately.

However, sometimes some people draw lines in the sand around one position -- whatever the position -- and say something like:

Which is exactly why open source software will never replace commercial software or Microsoft.

Flip the bozo bit. Flip them all. Don't argue. Don't read any further. Above all, don't take the person seriously.

There might be merit to the argument, but you're not going to hear it from that source.

(You probably should ignore the people who continue the argument from that point too, but I don't like to flip the entire double-word of bozo bits immediately.)

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  • The key for me was the word "never." Whenever I hear "always", "never" and related terms, I look for for the logical flaw. Someone was probably parroting, not thinking.

  • is that too many of the people involved are too fast to flip the bozo switch. Which is exactly why open source software will never replace commercial software or Microsoft.

    OK, now that chromatic is no longer reading, I mostly agree. Mostly in that I agree that when you see sweeping claims like that, then usually the speaker is an idiot. But only mostly in that I like to avoid flipping the bozo switch, and I like to wait for a few more red flags before deciding to ignore.

    Besides I don't think that Open
    • Besides I don't think that Open Source will ever replace all commercial software. Not just for the trivial reason (it is possible for open source software to also be commercial), but because of more intrinsic issues as well.

      The points about the Innovator's Solution and esr's engineering continuum are good points. But with software, there is something even more fundemental.

      Software is an odd offshoot of mathematics, a scientific discipline. In all branches of science, we build on the work of others.

  • While I wouldn't disagree with your example, I also find that it is useful at times to make a blanket "never" and "always" statement -- not because you believe it, but because it's a concise way of presenting an argument or counterargument.

    If you're a reasonable person, then you'll probably fall somewhere in the middle of most issues. But if you fully explain your exact position, you're in danger of indulging in public masturbation. It may be absolutely fair to the topic at hand, but it buries your actual

    • So, reasonably intelligent people will presume you don't mean what you say?

      Does that say more about you, or them?

      When I see people taking illogically extreme positions, unless they mean to be playing devil's advocate, or doing it for the purpose of exercise, I assume they are not reasonably intelligent.