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RE: What design is: 911 vs. Fleetwood

Paul Graham wrote:
>Subject: RE: What design is: 911 vs. Fleetwood
>The alternative to designing for a hypothetical idiot isn't
>to design something just to please yourself.  The way to
>good design (good work in any field in fact) is to aim to
>please yourself and a small group of fairly sophisticated
>colleagues.  That's what mathematicians aim for; that's
>what Leonardo etc. aimed for; that's what the Porsche 911
>designers were thinking; that was Jane Austen's method.
>I think you'd be hard pressed to find an example of great
>work that wasn't created this way.
>Self + sophisticated friends may not be the perfect target
>market, but it has the advantage Churchill ascribed to
>democracies: every alternative is worse.

This is very well put, but very unfortunate,
because it ensures that all sorts of people who are sophisticated in other
remain disenfrancised and disempowered,
even though they are often in closer touch with the real world problems that
really need solving
and with the larger community that is the real market for all of us.

"Self + sophisticated" are in a good position to delude themselves that
every alternative is worse.

--- Christopher Barber <cbarber@curl.com> wrote:
> > All three of the reasons you give for why Ada was more
> > expensive (no one used it by choice, no one wrote
> > libraries for it, and no one wrote compilers for it) are
> > just the symptoms of real hackers not liking it.
> Only if you believe that "real hackers" are the only people who make
> business decisions regarding language choice.  I don't believe it.
> On the
> first commercial project I ever worked on, we were forced to use
> because that is what the client demanded.  This kind of thing is not
> at all
> uncommon.
> > It may have shown up in the DoD's books as "language too
> > expensive" but the root cause was "language sucked."
> I don't know the language well enough to say that, but it still does
> have
> its adherents so it can't be that bad.
> > The "average programmer" is a fuzzy target, and vague
> > aims always lead to bad work.
> Yes, but who says that you have to have only one target prototypical
> programmer in mind?  Designing anything with only one person in mind
> is
> usually stupid, whatever the product.
> If you design a language for yourself, you are least guaranteed that
> you
> will like it, and presumably others like you, but it would be foolish
> to
> assume that everyone will like it.
> - Christopher

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