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chromatic (983)

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Wednesday January 30, 2008
02:11 AM

Putting the Hilarity Back in "Enterprisey"

[ #35520 ]

Most software developers don’t know how to engineer large enterprise systems. Most large enterprise systems are engineered badly.

Seriously. The minute you’re successful, plan to rewrite your software from scratch.

Mike Mason, Startups: Fire Your Dev Teams

That juxtaposition of quotes is at least an order of magnitude more hilarious than the quotes are in the original context -- and they're quite amusing in context.

Was it Descartes who refuted Berkeley by kicking a rock? I feel like saying the word "Netscape". I can't think of any software successful in the way that matters to large businesses that grew out of the kind of single, perfectly-realized up-front plan that would allow you to rewrite your software from scratch. In fact, all of the successful large systems I know of grew rather more organically from much smaller systems.

That doesn't mean that it's impossible to build a successful large system on the basis of a complete rewrite in a way that satisfies the business needs of a real, working, viable business. I've just never seen any evidence that it will ever happen.

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  • As I understand it, the core of SAP is updated on a 10 year release cycle... (that's the core business data stuff, not the gazillion products around the outside) so they might have time to have rewritten that bit.
  • He was a lovely bloke in university. Then he drank the PragProg koolaid and nothing he's said since then has made any sense at all. Still, sounds like he's happy, though.
  • No, it was Johnson. Descartes would never have been so practical... :)
    • That's right. For some reason I had Descartes in mind and totally overlooked the other English philosophers at the time.