Mazel Tov to the elder Spolsky on his latest book Language Policy. No, not computer languages.
Writing code is not production, it's not always craftsmanship (though it can be), it's design. Design is that nebulous area where you can add value faster than you add cost. The New York Times magazine has been raving about the iPod and how Apple is one of the few companies that knows how to use good design to add value. But I've talked enough about design, I want to talk about craftsmanship for a minute: what it is and how you recognize it.
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This month's Book of the Month is an excuse for me to write a long treatise about how modern software development is a world mostly divided into two large ideological cultures: The Culture of Unix Programming and The Culture of Windows Programming.
I've been sanity-checking FogBUGZ for Unix by installing various OSes under VMware.
Easiest Linux to install: RedHat 9. Mandrake is not bad but still uses some jargon that makes it not quite ready for prime time, for example, you would not be able to get through setup without knowing what "root" means. SuSE went to a lot of trouble to create a good setup, then they go out of their way to make it difficult and slow to install if you don't pay them for disks... my SuSE setup is still not done after several days of work. FreeBSD is pretty difficult to setup. Debian is very close to impossible, even for geeks.
The reason I need all these setups is because there are so many different ways to distribute software on Unix: we had to produce a .rpm, a .deb, a .tar.gz, and a .dmg for OS X.
(FogBUGZ for Unix system requirements: Unix, PHP 4, MySQL, Apache. It will ship in a few days).
I'll be DJing at the party tonight.
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