[modular-debian] Educating the masses: "It works"

  • From: Steve Litt <slitt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: modular-debian@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2014 11:05:35 -0500

Hi all, 

We're all running into people saying "systemd works, what's your
problem?" I think we need to educate such people.

Debian-User post
https://lists.debian.org/debian-user/2014/12/msg00115.html once again
trots out the "it works" argument. Hey, it's true, Manjaro with systemd
works as well as any other distro I've had. So why the complaints?

"It works" isn't sufficient, and isn't a substitute for quality
construction. The roof of my house had stapled shingles instead of
nailed shingles. It worked. It worked just fine until the three
hurricanes in the summer of 2004, at which time it failed quite
spectacularly.

I saw a twisted and torn apartment building, a victim of the "Northridge
Quake" of 1994. The builders hadn't taken the slight expense to install
shear-wall to prevent the frame from parallellogramming. It worked. It
worked for many, many years, serving as a perfect habitat for many
renters: Renters not knowing and not caring whether it had shearwall.
Until a 6.7 earthquake turned it into a twisted mess.

I once created a free software program to convert Easy Menu Definition
Language (EMDL) into UMENU .mnu files. I spent too little time on
design, rushed right in and coded it. As I coded and found places the
design didn't address, I just coded a workaround. In the end, it worked
perfectly. But as time marched on and I needed to add capabilities, the
program was so bandaged together, that making the slightest change was
a day long affair. Toward the end of its existance, I simply let bugs
and enhancements go undone, for fear of breaking the whole thing.
Finally, I rewrote it the right way. From then on, no problem.

Given the time and perserverence, almost anything can be made to work,
even if it's built so stupidly its natural state is not working, and
must be continually worked around to remain functional. "It works" is
not sufficient for software to be acceptable, because *we* don't want
to be the ones to invest the necessary time and perserverence, and
there's no guarantee that those who made the software will continue to
contribute the time and perserverence to fix the multitude of bugs and
use case snafus that the program's (lack of) design guarantees.

We should all let people know these things when their argument is "it
works."

SteveT

Steve Litt                *  http://www.troubleshooters.com/
Troubleshooting Training  *  Human Performance


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