what Hans is right about
Posted Jul 29, 2006 21:12 UTC (Sat) by pimlott
In reply to: what Hans is right about
Parent article: Quote of the week
You can babble on a mailing list about something for months or you can hack out a prototype.
Writing kernel code, even a prototype, is quite hard and time-consuming. At the beginning of a project, this time is better spent on the design.
Which technique do you suppose will be more instructive?
You've given a false choice, obviously. Thoughtful design, on-paper analysis, modelling in a formal or semi-formal language are all highly instructive (and they don't require chasing down oopses!). Writing a prototype is also instructive, but bang-for-time, it may not be the best.
I have known gifted designers who could write a spec much faster than they could write the code--and the spec proved implementable and solved the problem! NB: Most people can't do this. But some can. Maybe our disagreement comes down to whether such people really exist. My experience says yes.
Sure, overdesign is a danger. It's critical to identify the good designers and not listen to every babbling bozo (which may be hard in and of itself). And ever then not every design will work. But there are big payoffs too.
And, if by "disparage expertise" you mean that all developers are treated more or less equally, regardless of their experience, well, you might be right!
Come on, that is patently false. Linus is treated very differently from most developers, and the same to a greater or lesser extent goes for the rest of the pantheon. The problem is that writing Linux code is the only way to get any respect among Linux developers, who are generally indifferent to the other accomplishments and expertise of a would-be contributer.
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