Monday, January 30, 2006

I sort of got in a fight...

No, not with fists or anything like that. I save that stuff for Tuesday nights and Saturday mornings. During the show, I had an opportunity to speak with Mark Spencer a few times, and I think we disagree about a few points. I'm going to think pretty deeply about it and maybe write about it later, but here are the points of contention :

1) Mark said that, in software, anything is possible, so it is not unreasonable to think that Asterisk can be all things to all people. I say that software isn't magic, and nothing can be all things to all people. My question was, "How do you design a car to have ultimate speed and acceleration, while at the same time having the best fuel economy?" His answer is, "Software isn't the same as cars."

2) Mark said that open source changes all the rules, and that is what enables Asterisk to be all things to all people. I say that open source doesn't change any fundamental rules, period. He said that with Open source, you can now make anything at all you wanted. I replied "With an assembler, you can make any software you want as well, and that didn't require open source."

So, here's a fundamental question that needs to be answered. In the absence of any monetary motivation, is software engineering still relevant?

I say yes, of course.

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