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July 19, 2004

Software That Lasts 200 Years

Dan Bricklin has a thoughtful essay on how one should go about building a software which is everlasting much like civil engineering discipline. This requires new style of development (and also the mindset).

Funding for initial development should come from the users

The projects need to be viewed as for more than one customer

The requirements for the project must be set by the users, not the developers. The long-term aspects of the life of the results must be very explicit.

There is the whole issue of data storage and interchange standards that is critical to the long-term success and ability to do migration. Impediments such as intellectual property restrictions and "digital rights management" chokepoints must be avoided

Another critical issue is platform (hardware and software) independence. All development of long-term software needs to be created with the possibility of new hardware, operating systems, and other "computer infrastructure" in mind

The actual development may be done by business entities which are built around implementing such projects, and not around long-term upgrade revenue

The attributes of open source software need to be exploited

The development may be done in-house if that is appropriate, but in many cases there are legal advantages as well as structural for using independent entities

Unlike much of the discussion about open source, serendipitous volunteer labor must not be a major required element

July 19, 2004 in Enterprise software | Permalink


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