[lug] distribution favorites?
nate at natetech.com
Sun Nov 12 23:44:44 MST 2006
I was typing up a long reply to all the points, because I find many of
these things a lot of fun to talk about -- not being much of a software
developer but having worked on the receiving end (technical support) of
both good and bad software for most of my adult life, I (think) I have a
unique perspective, as do you.
I have contended for years that so-called Software Engineers don't play
by the same rules that Civil, Chemical, Structural, Electrical, and
other Engineers live by -- the industry just barely makes a half-hearted
effort at it. What I mean is, the creativity and drive are there of
other Engineers, but the discipline isn't.
It shows in the fact that open-source software blows away the
functionality and features of most "Engineered" code from most businesses.
But I'd be remiss if I didn't reply to this part:
>> I think it says a lot that you don't see people spinning off new (sane
>> and popular) distros from Fedora. Every once in a while you see it, but
> As a company who spent a large portion of it's 10+ years in the Linux
> business doing a Fedora-based distribution, I might disagree. :-)
Hmm, I forgot you have a distro! OOOPS! Dumb me. :-) And yours is
known as a good stable one too! And you sell it! You know that's a
mighty impressive feat no matter how you slice it.
I met an old retired engineer this weekend. He had a nice house in the
mountains, four radio towers, his own homebuilt pipe organ, three or
four more satellite dish mounts including a home-grown 9' dish that
could track from horizon to horizon both horizontally and vertically
without needing to spin around, complete with computer controlled
tracking, his own observatory, complete with rotating top like you see
in the time-lapse photos of the big ones, and a 4' x 4' trailer with a
similar dish mount to the one in the yard. One whole wall in his
basement was filled with trophies from his model airplane flying days.
The garage had the biggest most bad-ass potato launchers I've ever seen
anywhere (remember, this guy is pushing 80 years old...), the entire
basement was a workshop and an electronics manufacturing and test
facility -- complete with multiple computers, and every engineering
design book I've ever seen on a bookshelf anywhere, either sitting open
with notes in it, or one of the numerous bookshelves. A full
metal-working shop was tucked back in a corner. Another corner was
shelves of nothing but test gear.
He proudly showed us all of these projects, and all the while kept
repeating one phrase over and over as an after-thought on each of them:
"It's not perfect yet."
We sure could use more of his type in Software Engineering!
When I see so-called top-level networking engineer with the title "Cisco
Certified Internetworking EXPERT" (CCIE) who has no idea what a VOLTAGE
is, how to measure it, no motivation to understand it, or why laying an
Ethernet cable over the top of a fluorescent light fixture might
inductively couple that cable to the electrical noise inherent in the
fixture's ballasts and tubes... Something's wrong. I'm no BSEE, but I
can figure that out.
When you have to explain what analog to digital conversions via sampling
are, and how Nyquist's theorem affects the sample speed of a typical
telecommunications circuit carrying analog voice to people who've worked
on them for over a decade... and why any CODEC below the critical number
for the sample rate vs. the desired analog result is lossy by
definition... Something's wrong. I'm no software DSP engineer, but I
can figure that out.
With the U.S. having dropped from #1 in Engineering students to #5 in
the last decade, and still dropping like a stone, I think our priorities
have shifted so badly we're not going back to an attitude like this guy
grew up in, and lived in his Engineering career for a very long time.
Did I mention he had a PhD in Engineering? How many modern PhD's have
you met that couldn't screw a lightbulb into a socket (or change the oil
in their car) without instructions, only one generation later?
When phrases like, "I'd like to see my (grand)kids walk on Mars." bring
rolled eyes from so-called "normal" people in the room, who have no
vision or insight into how the human psyche is energized by exploration
or even watching others explore...
I'm not sure what it all means, but I definitely don't like the looks of
it. The only good news for me is, as long as so-called Software
Engineers keep cranking out the bugs, I'll always have work to do!
More information about the LUG