[Bioperl-l] Quote

Stephen Gordon Lenk slenk at emich.edu
Sun Jan 14 11:30:11 EST 2007


The open-source community is OK - It's 'professional' developers 
who can't build reliable software, but who refuse to learn new
skills or even respond to defect reports, that fry me. EE's like
to call non-EEs "w******" or "pc-programmers" at the same time
that they release code for test that blatently does not work. I 
suppose I was actually off topic - sorry. Off topic in the sense
of non-open source - quality and reliability are, however, on topic
in a software tools site. <EOM>


----- Original Message -----
From: Chris Fields <cjfields at uiuc.edu>
Date: Saturday, January 13, 2007 8:00 pm
Subject: Re: [Bioperl-l] Quote

> Not to wax philosophical on a very off-topic issue (but it is the  
> weekend)...
> 
> I would also argue that software itself isn't to blame.  Software, 
> 
> particularly open-source software, is only as good as the people  
> involved with its development, either the actual developers or 
> users  
> who contribute back in some way (filing bugs, making suggestions,  
> etc).  People aren't perfect, so why expect software to be?  To 
> make  
> a completely lame analogy : if you sat on a faulty chair which  
> collapsed, would you blame the chair or the carpenter?
> 
> As for making sure nothing is missed or is defect-free, how can 
> one  
> prove a negative?  Of course something will be missed, or a defect 
> 
> eventually found.  People are still finding new and exciting 
> things  
> (riboswitches, epigenetic regulatory mechanisms, etc) years after  
> genomes have been completed and released.  A huge number of 
> predicted  
> proteins have no known or characterized function.  Security holes  
> have been consistently found (and patched and sometimes repatched) 
> in  
> some of the best OS's out there.  Something changes beyond the  
> control of a developer (a sequence format, or a server change) 
> thus  
> causing a bug in the software.
> 
> Whatever you do, don't confuse success with perfection.  Success 
> at  
> least is attainable; perfection, meh, not so much.
> 
> Sorry you had frustrations with something along the way.
> 
> chris
> 
> On Jan 13, 2007, at 3:24 PM, Stephen Gordon Lenk wrote:
> 
> > Hi,
> >
> > I'm a bit puzzled about what "actually pretty good" means. My
> > understanding about Mars Rover is:
> >
> > "The current Mars rovers may rely on proven computer technology, 
but
> > for Spirit the journey has not been glitch-free.
> >
> > After a promising start to its mission, the Spirit rover -- the 
> first> of the MER twins to land on Mars -- stopped sending proper 
> data to JPL
> > scientists 18 days into the mission and later baffled ground
> > controllers by rebooting itself over and over again. Since then,
> > mission controllers were able to regain reliable communications 
with
> > the rover and continue to study what may have caused the 
> malfunction."> 
> [http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/technology/ 
> > mer_computer_040128
> > .html]
> >
> > Most industries know that "rebooting itself over and over again" is
> > not desirable. Evidently Mars is out of sight - out of mind. 
> Software> developers have excessive pride in deliverables that are 
> all too often
> > grossly dysfunctional. If a product released to the market failed
> > by "rebooting itself over and over again," there would be no end of
> > deserved criticism. Why is software immune from reasonable 
scrutiny?
> > Who believes their community is immune from the release of defects?
> > Maybe we should all ask ourselves how long it took for defects 
> to be
> > found after the release of our last piece of wonderware, 
> whatever it
> > was.
> >
> > As far a Google or genome software - how do you know you haven't
> > missed something in ALL the web pages of the world or in a huge
> > database being searched heuristicly. Are you saying defect free -
> > never misses anything - perfect? Or just darn good - if so, how 
> good,> and how is that determined? Is that aspect of quality 
> openly measured,
> > quantified, and available or is it just brushed under the rug.
> >
> > I do not claim to be flawless. This is *-->>NOT<--* a screed 
against
> > Osborne/Stroustrop or anyone else who takes pride in a job well 
> done.> I am simply not convinced that the software community is as 
> defect> free as they claim. Sorry to be 'aggressive' (if this be 
> such) but I
> > am completely sick of defective software propelled crap.
> >
> > Steve
> >
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: Brian Osborne <bosborne11 at verizon.net>
> > Date: Saturday, January 13, 2007 1:06 pm
> > Subject: [Bioperl-l] Quote
> >
> >> Technology Review January/February 2007 ³Bjarne Stroustrup The
> >> Problem with
> >> Programming²
> >>
> >> TR: Why is most software so bad?
> >>
> >> Bjarne Stroustrup: Some software is actually pretty good, by any
> >> standard.Think of the Mars Rover, Google, and the Human Genome
> >> Project. Now, that¹s
> >> quality software!
> 
> Christopher Fields
> Postdoctoral Researcher
> Lab of Dr. Robert Switzer
> Dept of Biochemistry
> University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
> 
> 
> 
> 



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