Subject: Re: lisp as a mutiple team programming language?
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 2002 01:14:35 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Jacques Wainer
> I think that an important component of team programming is lets call
> deontinc programming, for the lack of a better name.

* Russell Wallace
| ("Deontinc"?  I haven't heard that word before, though I get the intended
| meaning.)

  I think people have a moral obligation to spell "deontic" correctly.

| Would you hire a builder you believed to be incompetent, and then require
| him to use a hand saw because you didn't trust him with a power saw?  I
| suspect not; I think most people would wait until they found someone they
| trusted.

  The problem is that some people think they cannot wait.  Computers, even
  with buggy software, are believed to be such cost-effective productivity
  booster that managers and workers alike refuse to do things manually,
  even though it would actually be more productive and less expensive.
  E.g., a good secretary can type a letter on a good typewriter in far
  shorter time than it takes an accomplished Word user to type the same
  letter and print it out, but this does not appear to produce any insight,
  even after the fourth failed attempt to get it right from the printer.
  (One of the curious effects of this is that people can no longer type
  accurately without electronic crutches like "spell checkers".  When my
  last gun purchase license was approved, the type-through copy I got back
  featured 14 typos in less than 50 typewritten letters.  Quite amazing.)

| More generally, is there _any_ other field of human activity in which it
| is considered acceptable, let alone normal, practice to hire people one
| believes to be incompetent and try to compensate by giving them
| deliberately crippled tools?  Serious question - I'm not aware of any,
| but maybe there is one that I don't know of.

  I have no idea how they hire various paper pushers in public offices, but
  some of them appear to receive some sort of unemployment benefit combined
  with locking them up in an office where they are believed to be somewhat
  less harmful to society than if they had to be anywhere else.

| If the answer to the above question is no, then why is programming the
| exception?  Again, this is a serious question; I'd like to know the
| answer.

  Massive shortage of manpower, the inherent complexity of programming that
  exceeds the skills of the hordes of incompetents that are still believed
  to be more useful than not doing anything.  I mean, Grace Hopper believed
  that COBOL would be used to build small languages for application areas
  and that people would not want to build everything from scratch, and was
  somewhat surprised that people still went ahead and did just that.  So
  this is not new.  Language design is obviously too hard for most people,
  and it appears to be one of the (many) areas where competition is nothing
  but _seriously_ harmful and standardization equally seriously beneficial.
  Unfortunately, competition and standardization are seen as being at odds
  by many people, in the belief that adhering to a stadndard is competitive
  disadvantage.  I personally find this utterly amazing, but then again, I
  have devoted several thousand hours of my life to standardization efforts
  -- and that has been to _my_ competitive advantage.  Perhaps I digress.""

  In a fight against something, the fight has value, victory has none.
  In a fight for something, the fight is a loss, victory merely relief.

  Post with compassion: