Miscellany

There was a flurry of activity related to updating the button handling for awhile. Mostly, the time was spent getting up to speed. After that little bit of effort, and then making a decision about the approach, it was a matter of doing the work, testing, and then distributing the changes throughout the pages, as necessary (not complete as some of Gardner’s Beacon pages need some attention).

Now, a technological focus has its place: ought to be regularly held in about any modern context. The question, at the core, is how deep does one go. Well, the answer ought to be however much is necessary for truth (see Formally truthful). I don’t think that  a lot of modern programming cares about truth. Why should it when the way is to pound out stuff to see if it can rake in money (naturally, this is meant as metaphoric)?

In other words, we get to the cathedral/bazaar issue which was originally proposed in the context of Linux (see Queue). But, we can use it for the larger issue: so we have structure or fluidity (agility, too)? Why do those have to be incompatible (is my question)? Just today, I raised that issue in the other blog (Massachusetts Magazine). We will dance around the subject more but, for now, consider that there are truths that are more than the transient type related to computationalism.

As said, earlier, this blog is a learning vehicle for establishing WordPress on the TGS site in whatever way it can be used (at least, as the official blogging device). However, it may continue after that transition just to discuss, more fully, some fairly important issues related to computing and its foibles. I read the other day that even hard problems are being tamed through statistical means. One has to ask whether the whole accumulation of computational experience from its beginning (reminder, a mere 1/2 century ago) to some longer-term future point will really be sufficient to be called “knowledge” (my put: yes and no)?

A lot of time, of late, has gone into organizing processes and documenting such. Why? Various reasons that will become apparent, at some point. Right now, the emphasis seems to be on reviewing activity and benefits thereof which does deal with things beyond questions of: is it making money? That is a bazaar question. Sustainability, and its issues, must consider cathedral and such (to be discussed).

The Cathedral and the Bazaar (Wikipedia page) — written about development approaches, say the dichotomous views of top-down and bottom-up. Let me just say, that I’m going to talk middle-out as the scheme that we see having success. After all, those two views are neither sustainable in a real situation.

But, we can take those two (cathedral and bazaar – note lower case) and apply them to all sorts of situations which is what I am doing here, even though I used systems (software) examples. We could, eventually, think of a better pairing as juxtapositions, such as this, are everywhere visible to the observant.

We’ll use Eric’s site (here is a good starting page). On a quick read, we have to note that he is talking the type of code that is far removed from user content (to be discussed). There is a larger picture to consider; computing is for a purpose. In dealing with domain issues, users need direct involvement; in that sense, they ought to co-develop (so, tools, understanding the technical issues come into play).

There is no domain, of note, that is solely bottom-up (so remember, middle-out – it’s my duty to describe this further). In fact, the top-down (theoretical) rules, in many cases – unfortunately, so, since that view does inhibit (as in, you’re stupid for even thinking such a thing – ah, what hubris we see everywhere!). One problem is that domains have left things to the hackers, even in mathematics.

What is different about this old guy’s view? Well, he is over 70 and can still handle software. He touched a whole gamut of languages and approaches and platforms (enthralled with the new little toys? well, only in the sense that I foresaw those way back in the ’60s – it’s unfortunate that we seem to have to relearn a whole bunch of stuff – well, generations do come and go – what makes sense to one does not to the other – but, there are universals, even in computing – which generation will bring that out?).

I am always happy to look at the new books and note that there is nothing new under the sun. Now, in that context, the cathedral, at least, offers some semblance of continuity (let me take you to old structures from the 1100s, let’s say).  There are universals in computing. How do we lift these to consciousness and allow some agreement that is beyond the generational rifts?

 

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