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   Re: [xml-dev] Better is better

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1/23/02 9:37:13 AM, Mark Baker <distobj@acm.org> wrote:

>My objection is simply the name and the meaning that the name invokes,
>that it's somehow a good idea to be "worse", because sometimes "worse
>is better".  Considering the whole system when designing, rather than
>just part of it, can in no way be considered "worse".  I don't
>disagree with the conclusion of "worse is better", but I disagree with
>the unfortunate choice of wording.

I much prefer the way Kernighan and Plauger phrased the concept back in 1976 in _Software Tools_: 
something like (I don't have a copy handy) "something that does 90% of the job today is often better 
than something that promises to do 100% of the job sometime in the next 6 months."

IMHO, if you come (as I do) from a math background, it's easy to overemphasize completeness and 
internal elegance.  Both of them are highly desirable properties for certain classes of abstract 
concepts, but I'm a realist in the philosophical sense, and therefore view abstractions as 
(necessarily imperfect) models of reality, rather than reality as imperfect realizations of 
abstractions.  It's certainly a Good Thing that Turing came up with an elegant and complete formal 
model of computation, but that doesn't imply that his formalisms are the Best Way to implement real-
world systems.


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