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"If you look at software today, through the lens of the history of engineering, it's certainly engineering of a sort but it's the kind of engineering that people without the concept of the arch did. Most software today is very much like an Egyptian pyramid with millions of bricks piled on top of each other, with no structural integrity, but just done by brute force and thousands of slaves." - Alan Kay

March 27, 2005 02:11 PM


John D. Mitchell
(March 27, 2005 06:41 PM #)

That just came up in the discussion of: Is software engineering, math, science, or what? (http://www.artima.com/weblogs/viewpost.jsp?thread=101023)

Steve Currency
(March 28, 2005 12:00 PM #)

Writing software is so easy that a good percentage of people can pick it up on their own. Rather than say that amateurs shouldn't try to write software, I would say "Wouldn't it be nice if everybody could architect and build their own houses".

Richard Rodger
(March 28, 2005 12:10 PM #)

Lovely metaphor. I shall henceforth be making all sorts of sarcastic comments about pyramid building! :)

Actually it kinda fits in nicely with that other common misconception of programming as brick-laying. Get more brickies, lay more bricks! Work em late, lay more bricks! etc.

(btw, real-world brick-laying is also quite hard to get right. Ain't nothin' as simple as it seems.)

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