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Space Shuttle runs free software and open protocols

RupertSPerson was signed in when posted
09:15 PM ET (US)
Agreed. I was just thinking that too.
cypherpunksPerson was signed in when posted
12:13 PM ET (US)
wow. so weird now.
RupertSPerson was signed in when posted
05:09 PM ET (US)
You're thinking about the Fast Company article/hagiography,"They Write the Right Stuff", published in December 1996. The tone of the article has always struck me as a bit of a backhanded indictment of contemporary software development practices. While the processes are definitely solid, and produce rock solid code, the author seems to gloss over the fact that if all software was written in this way, very little software would get written, and innovation would be vastly decreased.

The On-Board Shuttle Group at Lockheed-Martin has the luxury of unhurried schedules, a complete absence of market pressures which dictate adding new features at the last moment to remain competitive, an install base of ~10 systems worldwide, and a great deal of stable funding.

As a software engineer, I think it'd be fascinating to spend a month observing processes and attending meetings with these folks, in order to gain a perspective on dev and QA that most traditional software companies can't provide, but the LMT/OBSG practices don't translate into good software in the real world.
Edited 01-31-2003 05:13 PM
CraniacPerson was signed in when posted
03:41 PM ET (US)
Seems like I came across a wired magazine article about the laborious checks and balances used by Nasa when writing shuttle code. Maybe some of that reliability will trickle back out and benefit the open source community.

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