Subject: Re: Innovation and APIs (Re: What Lisp to choose?) From: Erik Naggum <email@example.com> Date: 2000/06/07 Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> * Erik Naggum | ... it seems you should retarget your efforts to improve quality in | the components you use. * Martin Cracauer | And how do I do it when I can't change them without working | full-time for the vendor? You talk to the vendors (plural) that you could purchase something from and choose the one (oh, no! :) that listens to you. I wonder where the notion that you cannot affect a software product except by tinkering with the source code comes from. It's bogus. | Sorry, I should have worded differently: if you want innovation you | can't get when working inside existing multi-vendor frameworks, | isn't it preferrable to implement a thing like CAPI on your own, | basing just on Common Lisp, Posix/Win32 and X11/basic windows draw | routines? (Over using existing frameworks you cannot control). No, I don't think so. I want to be good at what I do, and I have found, after having become good at perhaps 20 different things in as many years, that if I can find somebody else with like attitude, or better yet, a whole bunch of people with like attitude, we don't all have to be good at the _same_ things. Sometimes, I'd like to go to a doctor and say: "Hey, I broke this, can you fix it?" and let him do his work, instead of studying the parts of medicine that I need to fix it and hope I learned it in time not to have done ill worse. | I say that using an existing API (over doing it yourself) saves A | time, but it costs B time that it is not specilized for your needs, | it costs C time to work around bugs in implementation or | documentation, it may cost D time to do something about it when the | vendors fails to continue the product in an appropriate manner. And | that B + C + D easily > A. And when it it, it often is in annoying | quantity, including risks for your own project or company. What a sad, paranoid view of the world! Here's a suggestion: Drop the crap you're working on and take a week's vacation right now, during which you ponder seriously whether you ever again want to work with incompetent suppliers. If you conclude that, yes, you want to work with incompetent suppliers, go back to work. If you conclude that, no, you do not ever want to deal with any supplier who is incompetent, buy firearms and ammo and go back to work :) _or_ get a new job. According to the newspapers and the screaming idiots in the IT business, there is a shortage of people who know just about _anything_. (Never mind that there are unemployed IT people, too, we don't want to be honest while marketing, do we? :) If you can't get a new job where you don't have to deal with a lot less incompetent suppliers, do something else that you're good at. | That is a bad situation, and there are several ways to approach a | solution. Some situations have only one solution, and it's the opposite of "approach": it's "butt out!". I honestly don't think people should try to solve the problems created by using Microsoft products. | The other is to do the current things right, so that users and | customers will be freed of the "doesn't-work-anyway" expectation and | will have their head free to even recognize advanced concepts. I'm worried about your fixation on "advanced concepts" and innovation, so I'm sorry I brought it up to begin with. There's such a mind-numbing lack of competence in any IT field that you don't have to be brilliant to be extraordinary, and you don't have to excel to deliver consistently high quality. People don't do quality work because they can get away with not doing it, and all you need to do is to make sure nobody gets away with around you. I know: I do just this. | I think that the OpenSource community did a lot in the latter regard | and that using single-vendors APIs will lead to forced changes in | your software that is contrary to it. Some day, I hope to find out what Open Source _really_ is a solution to. So far, the only thing that really stands out is "at least it's not Microsoft", and I was pleased that Rob Pike seems to have the same insight. I don't think we have solved anything of importance with Open Source, except how to threaten software development in the long term to the point of extinction or utter non-innovation. The sad fact is: people don't contribute for free to anything that they can't charge to a "surplus/luxury account", and in programming, that's what they know _too_ well. Add the pain of solving some really hard stuff to the equation, and a lot fewer people will want to contribute for free. To engage the masses of people that Open Source relies on, you can't _do_ really hard stuff for long. At some point, those who give away will want a return on investment. If they find out that they killed a lot of software companies or blocked a lot of ways to make money by giving too much stuff away, they will turn on Open Source and blame it for the reduction in their options. So Open Source is a luxury phenomenon, to vanish or be sharply reduced when we can no longer afford that luxury. #:Erik -- If this is not what you expected, please alter your expectations.