Problems with Open Source

Fundamental issues with open source software development is an essay in First Monday that lists 5 problems with many open source tools. The essay is by Michelle Levesque at U of T and is based on her experience with adapting an open source package. The problems are:
– Poor user interface design
– Poor documentation
– Feature-centric development
– Programed for the programmers
– Religious blindness
She points out how many of these problems also apply to commercial developments – the question is whether any of these are linked to the nature of open source development. She doesn’t quite complete the job of working from characteristics of OS development to the problems demonstrating the inherent strengths and weaknesses in the approach. That is perhaps for a further study.
Continue reading Problems with Open Source

Untitled #4

How to write about the relationship between programming and coding? In the dialogue that Steve Ramsay and I gave at the ACH in Georgia we delivered a dialogue called Untitled Number 4: A Brechto-Socratic Dialgoue. This was actually based on a series of playful experiments at writing code that could be read which led to literary program in Ruby that could be read or run. See the IE web archive of what the print version of the program looked like this – Untitled Number 4. A literary program is written like prose with code fragments woven in the flow of the text (as opposed to comments in the flow of the code.) Software can then generate the documentation or the code to be interpreted.

Some of Matt’s students commented on the dialogue. See Code as Writing as Code.

Ruby Book and Share Publishing

Why’s (Poignant) Guide to Ruby is an online Ruby book full of cartoons and commentary suitable for people wondering about languages. Looks great, but I’ve just started it.

What strikes me about the Ruby community is that many of its books are online – the so-far best guide Programming Ruby is also online and, despite having it there, I bought it. I like having things in both print and online for when the book isn’t at hand. (And now they have added a convenient table of contents and jump targets to the online one.) For programming online publication can only help. Anyone serious needs to carefully read to get programming and hence print is still best. The online version helps with looking up and as a preview.

Now I need to think about the poignant side of this e-book. Does its style work?