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Sender: "Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)" <[log in to unmask]>
From: Roger Racine <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2001 08:28:22 -0500
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Reply-To: Roger Racine <[log in to unmask]>
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At 03:41 PM 2/22/2001 , S. Ron Oliver wrote:
>At 09:11 PM 2/21/01 -0800, Deller, Steve wrote:
>
>>When I was a few years into programming, and just starting a job at CSC
>
>. . .
>
>>  For the latter
>>two catagories, starting with begin;null;end can sometimes lead to a
>>reasonable dialog.
>
>This is a WONDERFUL story!!!
>
>My hat's off to you.
>
>You substantially restore my faith in the POSSIBILITY that there CAN be a
>difference.

I tend to get into trouble for doing this, but...

There is another side to this issue.  Has no one heard the adage: "Better
is the enemy of good enough"?

Perhaps Steve Deller's manager was simply saying "I don't want a great user
interface.  I don't want a lot of 'dummy' checks (checks that user inputs
are correct).  I simply want something that does what I need, and I need it
ASAP."

This is a trivial example, and I understand the frustration of impossible
schedules, but as projects get larger, the adage remains valid.  I am not
saying I like Microsoft's programming practices, but they have made some
very valid (and lucrative) decisions about when to bring software to
market.  For example, back when Excel first came out, it certainly was not
perfect.  However, even with its flaws it beat out Lotus 1-2-3 in a fair
competition in the market.  And it is not that people accept horrible
software.  Using Excel was better than working by hand, and people liked it
better than the competition.  If Microsoft had waited until all the bugs
were out, it is quite possible that Lotus would have had a lock on the
market (similar to the lock Microsoft has on the word processor market; it
is pretty much impossible to have another word processor that handles
everything that Word puts out, and since everyone has Word, everyone else
must have Word).

This also reminds me of a story I heard about a very visible US Government
project.  The deadline was extremely well known to everyone who
mattered.  The software had been tested using simulators well outside the
expected envelope.  But the developers would not let it go.  With a complex
program there is no such thing as perfect software, and they wanted to
find, and get rid of, all the bugs.  Of course, that would have taken an
infinite amount of time, and they were finally convinced to let it go, and
the project was a resounding success.

Please note that I am well aware that other projects existed where the
software was -not- ready, and the project was a resounding failure.  And,
yes, the software would be better if everyone used Ada.  But to keep
hearing everyone preaching only the one side might mean that a little
perspective is needed.

Do not condemn successful software just because it has bugs.  It would not
be successful if it did not provide some service that the purchaser wants.

Sorry for the rant.

Roger Racine

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