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Re: Functional Paradigm popularity and Maths (Was: XML as a transitionto s-expr)

So, who is programming in VB and Delphi and who is using that software?
Who is writing all the code that runs in corporate america?

More to the point, are ALL/MOST the people contributing source to
Mozilla really that saavy?

Is that true of most open source projects?  How much of the code in
linux, emacs, apache, fetchmail, was written by developers who knew a lot
about formal methods?

What about all the random cgi/servlets that people run on millions of

Two general points:
1. most software maintenance is done by less saavy programmers.  Even if
   the original kernel of the software was written by someone brilliant,
   it is usually maintained by lesser lights.

   For example, I've heard that the guy who wrote Yahoo Shopping is pretty
   bright.  If he is as bright as they say, it would be hard to believe
   that the people who maintain it now are up to his level.  If they are,
   what are they doing just maintaining Yahoo Shopping?

2. most "retail" programming is also done by less saavy programmers. If
   they were more saavy they would be writing the next Yahoo Shopping.
   Instead they develop domain expertise to devote to large numbers of
   small projects (corporate apps, web sites, etc).

Really saavy developers make their own languages and tools and control
their own development environment.  Less saavy developers use what they


S. Alexander Jacobson			i2x Media
1-917-783-0889 voice			1-212-697-1427 fax

On Thu, 20 Dec 2001, Paul Graham wrote:

> What matters here is not just how many lines of software
> are written by idiots, but how many lines of software used
> by how many people.  To write this I'm using Yahoo Mail,
> via Netscape, running on FreeBSD.  That's a lot of lines
> of software used by a lot of people, none of it written by
> idiots.
> If good hacker X writes 25x more software than bad hacker Y,
> and X's software is used by 10000x more people, then X has
> the same effect on the world as a quarter of a million Ys.
> I think that's what David was getting at.
> --- "S. Alexander Jacobson" <alex@shop.com> wrote:
> > On 20 Dec 2001 jmarshall@mak.com wrote:
> > > "David Simmons" <David.Simmons@smallscript.net> writes:
> > > > Certainly, the vast majority of people who write software in one
> > > > form or another do not have such a informal (let alone, formal)
> > > > foundation.  They do, by and large, have some form of domain
> > > > expertise which they are attempting to translate or express to a
> > > > computer through the medium of a computer language (the
> > > > man-machine-interface).
> > >
> > > Yes, and the vast majority of software written by such people is
> > > crap.
> >
> > Yes, but the vast majority of software is written by such people!
> > There are 10:1 differences in productivity among various programmers.
> >  It
> > may be that the very productive programmers understand the formal
> > foundations and formal techniques.  But:
> >
> > 1. the majority of programmers don't (or else the difference would be
> > smaller)
> >
> > 2. the majority of dollars paid to programmers go to those that don't
> > (because top programmers are rarely paid 10x lower level programmers)
> >
> > 3. the majority of dollars/time spent on buying/installing
> > programming
> > tools is spent on these users because the licenses are per-seat not
> > per
> > kLOC.
> >
> > 4. the majority of code is written by these programmers because even
> > highly productive programmers take a speed hit in absorbing domain
> > information on new projects.
> >
> > > There is a prevailing myth that untrained programmers are at least
> > as
> > > good if not better than programmers that have had years of
> > training.
> > > In my experience, this is simply false.
> >
> > It is false.  But it is also irrelevant.
> >
> > -Alex-
> >
> > ___________________________________________________________________
> > S. Alexander Jacobson                   i2x Media
> > 1-917-783-0889 voice                    1-212-697-1427 fax
> >
> >
> __________________________________________________
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