Monday, 7 April 2008

Can Software Engineers save lives?

Keith has a post about getting on the DVCS bandwagon. What really interested me in the post is the part about his discussions with a colleague about the choice of tools.

"It's kind of a shame that people like Ed and myself can semi-legitimately get involved in a conversation about which DVCS and why. Summed over all the people like Ed and myself that's a lot of mental energy being poured down a black hole, across the industry as a whole. Especially since it seems as if there is almost nothing to choose between these tools."

It reminded me of this quote from Philip Greenspun.

“Another issue is a perennial side-show in the world-wide computer programming circus: the spectacle of nerds arguing over programming tools. The data model can’t represent the information that the users need, the application doesn’t do what what the users need it to do, and instead of writing code, the “engineers” are arguing about Java versus Lisp versus Perl versus Tcl. If you want to know why computer programmers get paid less than medical doctors, consider the situation of two trauma surgeons arriving at an accident scene. The patient is bleeding profusely. If surgeons were like programmers, they’d leave the patient to bleed out in order to have a really satisfying argument over the merits of two different kinds of tourniquet."

I can't find the original source of the quote, so I grabbed it from this post. My guess is that the original quote dates from the late 20th century.

It's good to see how slowly technical culture evolves.


  1. chandra said...

    Though technical culture evolves very slowly, once evolved it will move as fast as rocket !! that what is happening these days. thanks for this wonderful blog!

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