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BSDCon 2002 Paper    [BSDCon '02 Tech Program Index]


For the 2002 BSDcon, I decided to pull two talks from the time capsule of 20 years ago, and, in fact, use the original foils for authenticity, to help see what's changed and what's the same.

The first part, "Small is Beautiful and Other Thoughts on Programming Strategies," was first used in 1977, and was later given many times as Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) National Lectures. It was created in response to a sequence of trends inside Bell Labs and in software engineering at that time. At the time, I was working on the Programmer's Workbench flavor of UNIX, and we'd had great success in making UNIX available to much wider audiences of software engineers building software for both UNIX-related and non-UNIX environments. We were strong believers in UNIX philosophies of tool-building and tool-using, and keeping software teams small. At the same time, there was a great deal of activity and pressure towards methodologies and large teams that were anything but lightweight. This talk was the result.

The second part, "Software Army on the March," was created in the middle of a Conference on Fast Prototyping in 1982. I'd long been a believer in the careful use of prototyping, and had been running a project ("CRAS") originally built primarily of awk scripts and shell procedures, because we knew that the original requirements would change once the software hit the field (and they did). Hence, we built a prototype that could be transformed into the real product over time. At this conference, some of the discussions started to include some fairly heavy, time-consuming methodologies for the fast prototypers. I couldn't stand it any more, and said: "A fast prototyper is like a scout on a motor-cycle. To do their job, they cannot afford to carry the army on their back." Then, I thought "Wow! great theme for a talk!", wrote out a set of foils, and begged my way onto the tail-end of the conference and delviered the talk. It went well enough that I made a real talk of it, and then used it as a keynote at UNICOM 1983 in San Diego and other venues.

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This paper was presented at the BSDCon '02, February 11-14, 2002, Cathedral Hill Hotel, San Francisco, California, USA.
Last changed: 13 Mar 2002 ml
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