The Standard Output

One man's standard output is another man's standard input!

Archive for the ‘links’ tag

Three Rules for Project Selection

without comments

Today I ran across a thought provoking article on Dr. Dobb’s. The thesis is that there is a perception that Open Source projects copies what already exists and it’s in Closed Source where the real innovation occurs. This perception exists in part because how geeks choose what to work on.

There is most definitely evidence to the contrary and also to support that perception, but the main point of the article is that there is a fundamental problem in Open Source which manifests itself as this perception. The problem is with project selection.

Now, Dijkstra wrote a memo in 1982 that describes 3 steps to use when selecting a topic for your research. These rules translate really well to hacking and all geeks should consider them when selecting an Open Source project to work on. The rules are:

  1. Raise your quality standards as high as you can live with, avoid wasting your time on routine problems, and always try to work as closely as possible at the boundary of your abilities. Do this, because it is the only way of discovering how that boundary should be moved forward.
  2. We all like our work to be socially relevant and scientifically sound. If we can find a topic satisfying both desires, we are lucky; if the two targets are in conflict with each other, let the requirement of scientific soundness prevail.
  3. Never tackle a problem of which you can be pretty sure that (now or in the near future) it will be tackled by others who are, in relation to that problem, at least as competent and well-equipped as you.

Let’s break this down a little so it can be easily digested.

Rule 1 is an internal one and it tells us that the obviously possible should be shunned as well as the obviously impossible: the first would not be instructive, the second would be hopeless, and both in their own way are barren.

Next, Dijkstra was referring to scientific projects, but Rule 2 can be easily mapped to software projects also.

Rule 3 is the most important from an Open Source perspective. It ensures that your contributions are unique and move the-state-of-the-art forward. As Dijkstra so eloquently puts “If others will come up with as good a solution as you could obtain, the world doesn’t loose a thing if you leave the problem alone. A corollary of the third rule is that one should never compete with one’s colleagues. If you are pretty sure that in a certain area you will do a better job than anyone else, please do it in complete devotion, but when in doubt, abstain.”

I will be applying this rules to my future project selection. I hope you do too.

Written by Jonas Gorauskas

September 25th, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Pricing SaaS Apps

without comments

Nicholas Firth-McCoy makes a really great point regarding the pricing conventions used today for SaaS applications. The question is Should customers be charged more for security?

Nicholas nails the answer right on the head with this remark:

However, I think we should draw the line at inventing “security features”.

Imagine a service that offered you ‘hashed passwords’, ‘encrypted credit card storage’, ‘backed up data’ or ‘up to date libraries’ if you pay for their advanced plan. Not cool, right?

So why are we charging extra for SSL?

Go read it for yourself.

Written by Jonas Gorauskas

December 6th, 2011 at 7:59 pm

Posted in Review/Commentary

Tagged with ,

Links for 2011-07-19

without comments

Written by Jonas Gorauskas

July 19th, 2011 at 11:40 am

Posted in Zeitgeist

Tagged with ,

Links for 2011-06-01

without comments

Written by Jonas Gorauskas

June 1st, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Posted in Zeitgeist

Tagged with ,

Links for 2011-05-29

without comments

Written by Jonas Gorauskas

May 29th, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Posted in Zeitgeist

Tagged with ,

Some links for 2011-05-20

without comments

Written by Jonas Gorauskas

May 20th, 2011 at 11:27 am

Posted in Zeitgeist

Tagged with

[delicious | grep links | blogger] for 2011-01-03

without comments

Written by Jonas Gorauskas

January 3rd, 2011 at 12:00 am

Posted in Zeitgeist

Tagged with

[delicious | grep links | blogger] for 2010-11-20

without comments

Written by Jonas Gorauskas

November 21st, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Posted in Zeitgeist

Tagged with

[delicious | grep links | blogger] for 2010-11-13

without comments

Written by Jonas Gorauskas

November 13th, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Posted in Zeitgeist

Tagged with

[delicious | grep links | blogger] for 2010-11-06

without comments

Written by Jonas Gorauskas

November 6th, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Posted in Zeitgeist

Tagged with ,