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Tag Archives: worse is better

I know i did just come up with another explanation for it, but consistency is the hallmark of etc. Anyway, i was reading one of those things from hckrnews and this quote:

Software development obeys the laws of entropy, like any other process. Continuous change leads to software rot, which erodes the conceptual integrity of the original design. Software rot is unavoidable, but programmers who fail to take conceptual integrity into consideration create software that rots so so fast that it becomes worthless before it is even completed. Entropic failure of conceptual integrity is probably the most common reason for software project failure. (The second most common reason is delivering something other than what the customer wanted.) Software rot slows down progress exponentially, so many projects face exploding timelines and budgets before they are mercifully killed.

sparked the conjecture:

Worse is better protects from bit-rot/entropy.

As in it avoids uncool complete code, that must be there but no one would really trigger or read. As it tends to keep each piece of code small and hardy.

But maybe not.

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MIT Museum: CADR - The LISP Machine (late 1970...

MIT Museum: CADR – The LISP Machine (late 1970s) (detail) (Photo credit: Chris Devers)

A common thread through programming-philosophy (if such a beast even exists) is «worse is better». Program solutions that are worse end up being better, for reasons that, deep down, no one understands. The trope-namer is C × Lisp, where Lisp is the supposed uber-language, that can do whatever all other languages can, and still nobody uses it, while C is crap and everyone uses it. So what gives? Read More »

Computers are not perfect tools. They are not direct embodiments of thought. They are just tools.

While seemingly not a world-shattering conclusion, this tacit assumption might be the basis for many developments in the last few decades of computer history.

In fact, Microsoft’s approach to the development of software (in stark opposition to some competitors) seems to have been to just keep adding features instead of trying for perfection of it’s overarching system structures. In a sense, Microsoft has been “worse is better” since the beginning. Read More »

Let me call your attention to two most telling articles. The first one is about bigG and it’s browser and the other one is about Adobe’s first very own release of Flash. It all sucks. Right, i said it. Read More »