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From Stefano Mazzocchi <>
Subject Re: [IT] C2 Complexity Syndrome
Date Sat, 28 Oct 2000 13:12:21 GMT
Robin Green wrote:
> Stefano Mazzocchi <> wrote:
> >Almost any IT book publisher wants me to write a book on Cocoon,
> >wouldn't that help?
> I'd like to be involved in writing such a book (how I'd fit it in to my
> schedule I don't know, but...)!

> >Here I totally agree and I've bugged by some contributions on this
> >project: submitting "blackboxware" doesn't create communities. Dumping
> >50 classes in a day and disappearing for 2 months is not the same thing
> >as taking two months to build 50 classes and leaving the community with
> >50 days with nothing the works.
> >
> >The first kills communities, the second enlarge them and make them
> >healthier.
> I don't understand the first paragraph. "Nothing the works"?

Sorry, late night after spending 7 hours wasting time at Heathrow... I

I define "blackboxware" some complex piece of code that is developped
inhouse and committed when finished.

The hardest and best the code is, the more harm it creates to the
community; this is because people will rather use the software rather
than extend it. Normally, if more than one blackboxware submission is
donated, the community will ask for a complete refactoring. (see

It's exactly like thermodynamics, where a infinite number of small
reversible steps is more efficient than a small number of big but
not-reversible steps.

The good old Software Engineering practices they teach you in college
are bullshit: making architecture decisions without continous
reversibility is expensive because design constraints change too much.
Those who want to apply hardware engineering practices miserably fail.
Open source is here to prove that such a "messy" way to do code is
actually the only one that works and scales.

This thesis is considered revolutionary by some italian college
professors I met and they are trying to create an experiment to see if
this is really the case (or do a careful analysis on open source
dynamics compared to closed source ones).

Anyway, it's an design pattern: "good ideas and bad code build
communities, the other three combinations do not". This is extremely
hard to understand, it's probably the most counter-intuitive thing about
open source dynamics.

Stefano Mazzocchi      One must still have chaos in oneself to be
                          able to give birth to a dancing star.
<>                             Friedrich Nietzsche

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