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The environment succeeds because over time, the individual
choices, good or bad, sum to a choice that enables more
choices as long as the abstract business rule itself
is sound. If it doesn't, the system will exhaust itself
and lose reproductive momentum. In the case of the
western democracies, "of the people, by the people,
for the people" has worked well because "the people"
is an abstraction, not an entity, and the government
is an entity, not an abstraction. Central control
doesn't usually turn dictatorial if the rules are
followed. (we can debate cases where they weren't
Yes, it looks chaotic the closer you get, but from a
distance, it proceeds in a remarkably predictable way.
Bad specs can lead to better specs. Total imprecision
is random guessing.
Again, I prefer for MS to be the first penguin. I
prefer for IBM or Sun to be the second penguin. We are
fighting for third penguin position. :-)
From: Ronald Bourret [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
A precise definition is a good thing. But if the precise definition is
wrong (or wrong-headed), then fulfilling it is not a good thing. That is
what I was reacting to.
> So MS is the Big Bad Wolf? Ok.
Actually, no. MS is very good at what they do, which is to give
customers almost everything they ask for. This evidence (allegations of
monopolistic practices aside) seems to indicate that this is a very good
way to run a business. It doesn't always lead to clean design,
especially when it is done fast enough to beat your competitors to the
punch, and that is my gripe.
One of the interesting things here is that MS is successful based on
software that many purists (myself included at times) turn up their
noses at. This has always been a source of wonderment to me, and I've
come to the same conclusion as you -- customers just don't care, as long
as they can solve their problem and solve it now.
I suspect there's a strong parallel between the success of MS's
sometimes chaotic software over more orderly versions and the success of
democracies over more orderly (dictatorial) governments. Both give
people choice, even if they make poor choices.