Offshoring/outsourcing software development

This thread in Ask Joel is the most interesting discussion I've ever read abut offshoring/outsourcing software development!

It's getting incredibly long though, so it's really hard to read through. But the first 25 comments are definitely worth reading.

My personal take on the subject is roughly this: I believe software is art more than science. I think the best approach to make it look like engineering is something along the Unified Process - that's what the IT world has learned the hard way for the last 30 years! One golden rule of UP is to have the users and the coders communicating, to have them understand each other's constraints...

This doesn't mean I think nothing can be outsourced, but you certainly cannot carelessly offshore a whole IT department to a place with a radically different culture and expect that communicating with specs will "just work"! :|

If offshoring software development is ever going to succeed we'll need a whole new set of skills and tools (internet being one of them) to master it, and we're not even close! However, I think the experience of open source software projects developped by an international community are an interesting experience to this.

I would probably elaborate on this if I wasn't this busy reading the thread at Joel's right now! :>>

Ecological Footprint Quizz

Lately, it's been trendy to take all sorts of online tests and to publish results on your weblog.

Good way to learn 100 irrelevant facts about yourself!

How about taking this one now: Ecological Footprint Quizz ?

Ever wondered how much "nature" your lifestyle requires? You're about to find out.

This Ecological Footprint Quizz estimates how much productive land and water you need to support what you use and what you discard. After answering 15 easy questions you'll be able to compare your Ecological Footprint to what other people use and to what is available on this planet.


(I am at 4.5 ha, not much to be proud of, even if France's average is 5.3, gotta work on it. Can you do better :?:)

b2evolution, Movable Type and WordPress

Just realized I barely haven't posted anything to this blog for the whole month and this is my last chance to pop up on the calendar page for May! :P

So what has happened for the last few weeks?

Well, for the most part we polished and we released the much anticipated b2evolution 0.9, got a lot of feedback and made it even better ( so far).

Incidently, at the same time, as you must have heard by now, Movable Type changed their licensing scheme, disappointed a lot of their users, created a tidal wave of blogtool evaluating, comparing and switching all over the blogosphere. With slashdoting and everything. |-|

Funny actually, because the new license isn't really that much different from the previous one. Looks like people just opened their eyes and suddenly realized what it really was about! :>

At least, with a license like b2evolution's GNU GPL, users can rest in peace. (It's so Free actually, commercial companies like SCO would like to get if off the surface of the planet! >:-[ But since it's being used by tens of thousands of free open source projects, I really don't see this happening anytime soon... :>> )

Well, anyway, I think one of the most interesting "replace-your-MT" comparisons was provided by Owen in his - now famous - Blog Software Breakdown [Page gone].

Owen eventually decided to go with WordPress for himself and explains his choice. Interesting. Of course I wish he'd gone with b2evo, but I guess he didn't need the extra functionality. It's never too late though! ;D

Anyway, I hope Owen is going to maintain his chart in the future because it's a valuable resource... as long as it's not outdated. ;)

Well, apart from that... the world is still screwed as usual in its grotesque pattern of self destruction... but that's a topic for another day!

Coder to Developer

From Joel's foreword to Mike Gunderloy's "Coder to Developer":

When I got out of the army, I headed off to college and got a degree in Computer Science. Now I really knew everything. I knew more than everything, because I had learned a bunch of computer-scientific junk about linear algebra and NP completeness and frigging lambda calculus which was obviously useless, so I thought they must have run out of useful things to teach us and were scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Nope. At my first job I noticed how many things there are that many Computer Science departments are too snooty to actually teach you. Things like software teamwork. Practical advice about user interface design. Professional tools like source code control, bug tracking databases, debuggers and profilers. Business things. Computer Science departments in the most prestigious institutions just won’t teach you this stuff because they consider it “vocational,” not academic; the kind of thing that high school dropouts learn at the local technical institute so they can have a career as an auto mechanic, or an air-conditioner repairman, or a (holding nose between thumb and forefinger) “software developer.”


There’s something weird about software development, some mystical quality, that makes all kinds of people think they know how to do it. I’ve worked at dotcom-type companies full of liberal arts majors with no software experience or training who nevertheless were convinced that they knew how to manage software teams and design user interfaces. This is weird, because nobody thinks they know how to remove a burst appendix, or rebuild a car engine, unless they actually know how to do it, but for some reason there are all these people floating around who think they know everything there is to know about software development.

I bet this sounds familiar to many of you if you've been in the field for a little while... :>>


I've been addicted to quite a few things in my life, including caffeine, sugar, sex, motorriding and fun things like that.

At some point I thought I was healed.

However, lately... it's actually been getting worse!

There was the email addiction, feeling the need for checking my email constantly.

There was the RSS addiction, feeling emptiness when my aggregator was out of fresh news.

There was the blogging addiction, feeling the urge to shout out anything I had on my mind.

There was the hitlog addiction, insanely rewieving all hits on my site.

There was the Google fame addiction, wanting to rank up on searches on "francois".

Today I realized I'm now addicted to OO programming! Didn't get my fix today and I'm all grumpy about it.

I wonder what the next one will be in a few months... UML modeling might be a good (nerdy) candidate!

A few years ago I would have told myself to get a life! Yep... but frankly, what's "a life"? And I'm actually willing to bet no one lives without a couple of his own addictions anyways... Even monks... you could argue they're addicted to prayer! (or meditation, depending on the religion ;)