[Twisted-Python] web vs web2 clarification

Phil Christensen phil at bubblehouse.org
Thu Dec 10 14:41:23 EST 2009

On Dec 10, 2009, at 2:21 PM, Mikhail Terekhov wrote:
> Just some unrelated rant about Joel&Co :
> Joel talks about big _commercial_ projects and _commercial_ failures.
> May be he is right here, may be not. But it is this rewrite from scratch that
> gave birth to Mozilla - number one web/email suite till now. Isn't it a
> success?

I think that's debatable. Mozilla was terrible for a long time, there just wasn't much alternative. You could make the (arguable) point that Mozilla's rewrite happened at the cost of disengaging from the web community, leading people to jump ship to IE.

> Another successful open source examples are Apache and
> Subversion.

I don't think Apache is a particularly good example of why ground-up rewrites are more reasonable in open source projects. It took **years** to get a critical mass on Apache 2, and there are still many plugins that don't support anything but prefork mode.

At the same time, the approach to developing the 1.0 series was the source of the name Apache, since they were constantly upgrading and improving an existing codebase, hence, "A Patchy" Server.

> And what about CVS that couldn't/refused rewrite from
> scratch and peacefully evolves adding features little by little? Can it
> catch up with svn/git/bzr/hg? I doubt so. CVS's example in fact says that
> if you refuse to do it then someone else will do and will replace you.

Well, again, debatable. OpenBSD still uses CVS, and has started a significant push to patch and upgrade the existing CVS source.

> May be it is open source that makes it different, may be people think
> more about fun and beauty than about money in this case?
> It is not so simple and Joel's hypothesis is far from being 100% true IMHO.
> In the end a lot of people know/use Borland's, Netscape's and Microsoft's
> software but how many know/use Joel's? ;)

I think it's far simpler than that. There's an old expression that sums it up: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Taking limited resources from a nearly-complete and reasonably popular project to add them to a brand-new and **backwards-incompatible** project is rarely ever a wise project management decision.



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