[OT] Re: [NCLUG] Linux can do THIS too??!!!

Marcio Luis Teixeira marciot at holly.colostate.edu
Sun Oct 27 04:06:53 MST 2002

> I read _Lila_ a while ago, and wasn't very impressed with it. Perhaps
> that's because I was expecting something closer to _Zen and the Art of
> Motorcycle Maintenance_.

Yes, indeed, his first book was very good and I think it was a better novel 
and a more interesting story, but the second one really stood out because it 
pulled everything together into a coherent (or at least semi-coherent) 
theory. I can't say that I totally understand his Metaphysics of Quality, but 
his MoQ seems much more plausible to me than religious explanations of the 
world, and at least as plausible as scientific theories of the world.

> So, what did you like about _Lila_?

The concepts of dynamic quality and static patterns has a great deal of 
relevance to a lot of things, including software. Burried in his book are 
some excellent observations on software and computers (chapter 12 is probably 
the only one in which he mentions computers directly. In the other parts you 
have to read in between the lines). I think there are some interesting 
parallels between what he says and what people are discovering about 
software. For example, design patterns and software refactoring seem to be 
the rage in computer science now a days. Viewed from the perspective of MoQ, 
refactoring can be seen as taking small, incremental movements toward this 
thing called dynamic Quality. Gradually, as the software evolves, larger 
static patterns emerge and become evident. I think "software archeology," or, 
the dissection of existing software to discover what patterns emerged from 
its construction, will become more and more the norm in computer science.

As for the general direction towards which software is heading, consider the 
following quote from Lila:

   "It seems clear that no mechanistic pattern exists towards which life is
    heading, but has the question been taken up of whether life is heading
    away from mechanistic patterns?" pp. 142

Substitute "software" for "life" and I think you have a very interesting 
picture about what could happen to software once it is liberated from the 
constraints on its freedom.

> This sounds like a good discussion for hacking society.

If we're gonna do that, then here's the assignment: read ZAMM and Lila, and 
then write a ten page essay about the relationship of the MoQ to open source 
software development.

(now just watch how nobody will show up to the next hacking society ;)

Marcio Luis Teixeira

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