IBM's Community Source project
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Joined: 04 Oct 2003
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There's a very interesting series of developments happening in the non proprietary OS and software world, a definite fork in the road.

Read the interview with IBM's community source person.

One quote in particular caught my attention:

:: Quote ::
This componentization, says IBM, will liberate the creativity of programmers, drive efficiency, and bring products to the marketplace at a faster rate then was previously possible - avoiding a top down approach that IBM says could make Microsoft's Longhorn obsolete upon arrival.... [page 1]

I think there are actually two issues that we are commingling here, so let's make them a little distinct. So one of the issues is code that is highly integrated code that was built originally for a specific purpose. These code bases are very expensive to modernize, to add functionality to develop and support.

Certainly the Microsoft Windows platform, and we've witnessed the continual delays of the platform, is an incredibly complex engineering problem they have. They've got millions and millions of lines of code and they are all spaghetti'ed together and as soon as they go and change or fix something it can ripple all the way through the code. [page 2]

I think this goes a little bit beyond one company simply trying to build its own position by criticizing another, mainly because it's becoming increasingly obvious by looking at how long it's taking MS to get truly innovative new products out the door.

Longhorn is way behind schedule, and is only even remotely on track because MS basically got rid of all the innovative new features that were supposed to ship with Longhorn, such as the new file system, which they've been trying to create since NT 4.

Windows 98/ME was abandoned because of these types of issues, and MSIE is in a state of limbo, probably for very similar reasons.

While Unix type products have always been built with modularity in mind, MS has generated increasingly complex systems under heavy time pressure. This is bound to lead to many shortcuts being taken to get the product out the door, no matter how much they might want to avoid that.

At some point you have to step back from this type of development and rebuild the core product. This is what makes this interview so interesting, MS has always worked in this way, so it's very likely most of its core products simply cannot be fixed.
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