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SubjectRe: Coding style - a non-issue
On Sat, Dec 01, 2001 at 01:38:11PM +0000, Alan Cox wrote:
> Which doesn't conflict. Engineering does not require science. Science helps
> a lot but people built perfectly good brick walls long before they knew why
> cement works.
>
> > All the alchemists ever managed to create were cases of mercury
> > poisoning.
>
> and chemistry, eventually. You take it as far more demeaning than its meant.
>
> But right now given two chunks of code, I find out what happens by putting
> them together not by formal methods. In the case of alchemy v chemistry the
> chemists know whether it will probably go bang before they try it (and the
> chemical engineers still duck anyway)

Oh come on Alan. You look at a patch and can discard 99% of the really
bad ones _before_ you try them out. How do you do it? Divination?
Nobody uses formal methods for anything other than generating papers
with more authors than readers. It's true that the academicians
have made a fetish out of the elaborate typesetting that they call
"theory", but in the real world, the distinction between science and
engineering is nothing more than some class snobbery and a rough
categorization of who pays for the work.

If there is a point here, which now seems unlikely, it's that there are
design and engineering skills needed to make real software work.
Neither slashdot nor the formal methods research fellows at Oxford
are capable of generating Linux.
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