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Re: Hackers and Painters and Lawyers

> On Friday, May 16, 2003, at 10:32 US/Eastern, Guy Steele - Sun 
> Microsystems Labs wrote:
> > the system produces a kind of Darwinian pressure: the legal language 
> > most likely to survive is that which on its face is most ambiguous or 
> > difficult to understand.
> If the software community had a Supreme Court (and court hierarchy), 
> "legal" software would contain previously approved constructs, language 
> innovation would be highly risky, the infrastructure would become 
> increasingly complicated, and engineers would be as highly compensated 
> and envied and as numerous as lawyers.  Are we there yet?  Is that 
> where we're going?

    I hope not, we have a much better arbiters in the logic of computation to determine what works and the free market to determine which sets of working tradeoffs best serve End User needs!
> International law built up to a certain point, then it was hit by world 
> events, and how it will come out we won't know for decades. The 
> software industry is going through a metamorphosis too.
> Back to lightweight languages.  Lightweight means to me that it is easy 
> to get off the ground and keep flying, it gives us wings, it gets us 
> from A to B.  The Wright Brothers gave us wings 100 years ago.  What 
> kind of gravity is our bogeyman today?
> Geoffrey

    I'd say the biggest bogeyman is "Notation for Obfuscation"!
    Must every new lightweight language look like a cross between C and Etruscan?
    Take pity on End Users and consider Plain English Programming. After all, if lawyers can learn to write in Plain English, surely CS people can rise to the challenge!

Warmest Regards,



Peter J. Wasilko, Esq.
     J.D., LL.M.               

Executive Director, The Institute for End User Computing, Inc.

Visit us on the web at: http://www.ieuc.org


Its time to abandon brittle architectures with poorly factored
interfaces, gratuitous complexity, and kludged designs dominated
by sacrifices on the altar of backwards compatibility.

Such artifacts are vulnerable to cyber-attack, weigh down the
economy costing trillions of dollars in lost productivity, and
suffer from an impoverished conceptual model that lacks the
integration and elegance needed to empower end users to
get the most from advanced applications in the future.

The Institute for End User Computing --- Pursuing Secure, Simple, 
   Supple, & Sophisticated Systems to Unlock Our Human Potential

* The Institute is incorporated under New York State's
   Not-For-Profit Corporation Law