Categories: "IT business"

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! :>>

I love WiFi! (well, actually...)

I mean, you gotta love it!

A picture is worth a thousand words:

I love WiFi! (well, actually...)
Working on the balcony

Okay, so much for the showing off. A few hours later:

  • I had to switch to a "High Contrast" Windows color scheme (now I know what these are for!) to be able to see something with my sunglasses. And without the glasses, the sun hurts my eyes!
  • I had to move the table more in front of a window to get better signal strength...
  • I had to plug in the power adapter since WiFiing through the walls really sucks a lot of power...
  • I had to clean the screen at least four times before the sunlight stopped reflecting on the dust... (sorry for sounding like I had never tried to open a laptop outside :.)
  • And now the neighbours are mowing their lawn! Damn it!

Yeah, next time they tell you nice stories about WiFi in the magazines, don't believe what they say! :-/

PS: This is just for fun, I still enjoy WiFi very much. Example.

IE 6 not refreshing

Just stumbled upon yet another funky IE6 "bug" (if I may say so...

When you want to automatically refresh to another page, you send a header that looks something like:

Refresh:0;url=http://blah.blah.blah

The funky thing is that if that header exceeds the maximum size of 263 characters, IE won't do the refresh!

Okay there's got to be a limit, but why so low? And why "263" ??

No need to say, auto refreshes work fine in Firebird with headers much longer than that.

I guess this is why you still need to put some dirty message underneath like 'if nothing happens, please click here! :/

PS: Please don't tell me to use a Location: instead. This would make it impossible to set cookies.

Microsoft killing the browser: scary movie...

Sometimes I fear that Microsoft stopping the development of IE 6 is a lot worse than we think...

It looks more and more like they have a master plan beyond terminating the free browser program... (we don't care, we have open source browsers, right?)... Actually, it looks like they plan to terminate the browser concept itself.

With their .NET client technology, they actually intend to promote applications that directly and transparently connect to web-services. You don't "see" the internet any more. What you see, is the funky XP GUI interface of a native Windows application!

Once most online services will work only with their dedicated Windows client (yeah the providers don't care, that's 95% of their market anyway), what's the use of a free open source browser going to be? Oh yeah... it will let you browse the old, poorly maintained, "compatible" w-e-b-site (which already only works well in IE! :/)

Wow! Waking up... I just had a terrible nightmare! Luckily something like this could never happen... right?   right?

2015 update: something like this is actually happening with phone apps... Ironic? ... or did someone take a page out of Microsoft's early century book?

The idea behind open source

Karl Fogel has it pretty much clear in Chapter 1 of his book: "Open Source Development with CVS - 2ND EDITION":

Imagine a science-fiction device that allows any sort of food or physical object to be infinitely duplicated. If somebody then tried to sell you a tire for your car, why in the world would you buy it? You could just throw your friend’s tire into the duplicator! However, you might want to pay somebody to design a new tire for you or perhaps to install the tire on your car. Or to help you when some other part of your car breaks, you might want to buy a warranty for future support. Or maybe just hire a personal mechanic.

Similarly, in a world where all software is in the public domain and infinitely reproducible, programmers and software companies are able to make a good living not by restricting the flow of software, but by providing a service. Users pay the programmers and companies to design and write new public domain software, as well as install, maintain, customize, troubleshoot, and teach others about it. A programmer or company sells labor, not products — much like a mechanic, plumber, or electrician.