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From "Matthew French" <matt...@camary.co.za>
Subject Re: I hope the JVM implements most using Java itself
Date Wed, 11 May 2005 16:35:18 GMT
Stefano Mazzocchi said:
> Matthew French wrote:
>> You do realise that there are conflicting priorities here? Get it right
>> and do it now?
> Matthew, after all these years of open source I can tell you one thing:
> there is no such thing as 'doing it right'.

Erm, yes and no.

There is the pie-in-the-sky make-it-work-the-first time definition of
'doing it right'. Anyone who has been writing code for more than a year
should know that this just doesn't happen.

The other definition of 'doing it right' would be 'trying not to do it
wrong'. Otherwise known as "look before you leap".

> This is modern software engineering and aligns very well with the
> extreme programming methodology, which has been shown to be more
> effective than traditional software engineering practices even in closed
> environments.

True enough, but even extreme programming advocates doing some design.
Sure, throw it away afterwards. But it helps to know where you are trying
to go.

One of the most valid criticisms I have seen here is that Harmony appears
to be trying to replicate many other projects. Re-inventing the
re-invention, as it were.

In my mind, I don't believe that. Because I don't want to. But it does beg
the question: what are we doing here?

Managing programmers is like trying to herd cats, now before we all go off
and do our own thing it might be helpful to draw some magic cat-repelling
lines in the sand. :)

> I used to be a hard core 'design then code' dude. Some of the people
> here know very well how painful that can be...

Yup. Fortunately I learnt from others experiences so I never did that
myself. But I have had moments when I wanted to cry - or hurt someone -
when I witness sensible people become locked in analysis paralysis.

I don't want that to happen hear. But nor do I want to stand in quicksand
thinking I am off to the beach.

>> As I have already stated, my priority would be to get it right. If you
>> want a free Java right now, there are plenty of excellent candidates out
>> there already.
> This seems to imply that what the others did is "wrong", or suboptimal.

Indeed I did. Although I don't want to disparage the hard work that has
gone into these projects (especially since I have not worked with any of
them long enough to know about their successes and failures), they have
all failed in one requirement - to produce a Java like system that is
widely accepted.

Which is why I would like to take a step back to understand why.

> I think this would be a mistake. In many ways, social and technological.

Mmmm. Me programmer. Foot permanently attached to mouth. :)

Seriously, one of the reasons I keep harping on about architecture is
because I see these projects as a useful part of Harmony. They all seem to
have a different focus, and therefore are scratching different itches. If
Harmony can bind these projects together, take away the tedious overhead
and provide quality assurance, then I think a lot of the work will be

> Harmony is not about reinventing the wheel just because there is a clean
> slate. It's about enlarging that software ecosystem around existing
> "free and open" java solutions, hopefully building better bridges
> between the two licensing worlds as well (for sure, we already have
> better social ones!)
> But instead of 'doing it right', I would say "draw the
> minimal possible architecture so that most can play", which is a
> community-engineering version of "do the simplest thing that can
> possibly work".

I agree on both counts.

Maybe I work in too many banks at once - but for me architecture means
defining the simplest thing that could possibly work. :)

> Hehe, it is amazing what a well behaving organic development ecosystem
> does to software. It beats, hands down, any corporate and top-bottom
> driven development. Not because volunteers are smarter (that's
> completely unrelated) but because they scratch their itches. Read:
> lazyness is a local minimization of energy.

But the question then becomes: if we are so lazy, why should we spend time
saving other people time? ;) (Yeah yeah, the issue is actually a lot more
complex than that - pride, geekiness, artisianship, the challenge, love
and care are all factors.)

My particular itch in this case is duplicated effort. I am busy scratching
it right now.

> Harmony just wants to continue that tradition and help in enlarging that
> ecosystem, friendly and for mutual benefit, hoping to capture all those
> people/interests that, for good or bad reasons, the "free software" side
> was not able to capture.

Hear, hear!

But now how do we go about doing that?

- Matthew

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