Daniel Roy Greenfeld

Daniel Roy Greenfeld

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This was originally posted on blogger here.


Choice quote that worries me about counting lines of code:

Speaking of lines of code, my friend Rebecca, who's a Pentagon reporter, has sat through countless briefings about military software projects. She's bemused at the briefer's fondness for citing the number of lines of code in the systems they're developing."

Lean, mean code is better than big, bloated code. And using lines of code as a metric is something I thought went out of vogue a long time ago.

Here is another interesting bit:

Let's look back at the F-22. Why did it take dozens of software engineers working on the F-22 avionics code four times as long to produce 750,000 lines of code as it's taken the Fracture team? Is the average programmer at Day 1 Studios a hundred times as productive as the average programmer at Boeing? Of course not. The F-22's avionics suite is life-critical software. It has strong interdependencies on changing hardware.

Life critical software is hard. Toss in the extra work developers have to do in a CMM-5 shop and things start to bulk up. Everything has to be explained and checked. On the other hand, often your code ends up looking pretty good since you get really smart people giving you peer reviews.

The closer thought is this line:

The hardware it runs on is nearly twenty years old now, which increases iteration times (the F-22 runs on a VAX/VMS system like the college mainframe when I started at Davidson, back in 1990)

I'm not sure I'm happy or not at this statement. The F-22 costs us about $450 million dollars a plane so I'm happy that they've got super mature systems in place. On the other hand, wouldn't it be nice to see five hardened Linux pizza boxes in the place of the VAX mainframe?

Better yet, lets ditch this series of fighter and just go to UAVs. Cheaper, better performance, and no pilot risk.

I'm so glad I don't work for DoD anymore.

Tags: technology legacy-blogger