Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 3rd Oct 2005 14:52 UTC
Linux In a conversation that began as a request to include the SAS Transport Layer in the mainline Linux kernel, there was an interesting thread regarding specifications. Linux creator Linus Torvalds began the discussion saying, "a 'spec' is close to useless. I have _never_ seen a spec that was both big enough to be useful _and_ accurate. And I have seen _lots_ of total crap work that was based on specs. It's _the_ single worst way to write software, because it by definition means that the software was written to match theory, not reality."
Thread beginning with comment 39840
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Art vs. Engineering
by dylansmrjones on Tue 4th Oct 2005 13:36 UTC
Member since:

Software Construction is in many ways a matter of (almost magical) art - just like writing songs. But then, it's possible to write songs according to a scheme (we all know the boring mainstream songs - technically acceptable, but artisticly utterly unacceptable).

But then, the same can be said about hardware engineering. Take a look at the classical Mac. It was based more on art than engineering, yet it was based on specs (to know which limitations to break free from).

In danish the word is "kunsthåndværk" , I believe the english word is "handicraft". A combination of art and engineering.

Linus didn't say that specs were unuseful. What he said was that they were unuseful in regard to coding. Which is all true. Never ever use specs as a foundation for coding. But it can be used to set out directions/goals for the result of the code.

With the stupidity shown in this thread, it would be no surprise for me if somebody came by and told me the waterfall technique was a sane technique in regard to software development.

Reply Score: 1