Linus said

I know this may be overvehiculated by now, but it really caught my attention:

[…] a ‘spec’ is close to useless. I have _never_ seen a spec that was both big enough to be useful _and_ accurate. And I have seen _lots_ of total crap work that was based on specs. It’s _the_ single worst way to write software, because it by definition means that the software was written to match theory, not reality.

[…] they’re dangerously wrong. Reality is different, and anybody who thinks specs matter over reality should get out of kernel programming NOW. […] specs have an inevitable tendency to try to introduce abstractions levels and wording and documentation policies that make sense for a written spec. Trying to implement actual code off the spec leads to the code looking and working like CRAP.

[…] we still talk about the seven layers model (n.b. OSI model), because it’s a convenient model for _discussion_, but that has absolutely zero to do with any real-life software engineering. In other words, it’s a way to _talk_ about things, not to implement them. And that’s important. Specs are a basis for _talking_about_ things. But they are _not_ a basis for implementing software.

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5 responses to “Linus said

  1. seven

    LOL. You mean JCP implemented standards is ‘looking and working like CRAP’ ?

    Horia Muntean

    P.S. (ROM)
    Banuiesc ca esti din Bucuresti. Exista in orasul asta vreo comunitate de ‘fani’ java care se mai si intalnesc din cand in cand?

  2. Dan Hinojosa

    I wonder if Linus Torvalds has ever heard of java. 😉

  3. the_mindstorm

    Hi Horia!

    Yep, I am living in Bucharest. For the moment I don’t know anything about any java groups, but I really hope to have something on this direction starting from next year [blink/].



    .w( the_mindstorm )p.

  4. the_mindstorm

    I am sure Linus knows about Java and maybe without JCP processes he would consider it for developing kernels [big-smile/].


    .w( the_mindstorm )p.

  5. Richard Relos

    I kinda agree but at the same time disagree with Linus. Definitely, specs are very important. But most of the times specs are just relegated as pieces of extra worthless tasks. But JCP standards are of different breed. JCP specs are not there to address ever-changing biz concerns but rather, JCP specs represent a standard to be followed.

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