Forwarded from Greg Schofield (Java)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Wed Apr 18 09:19:00 MDT 2001

Kenan wrote:
>I would like to see the debate on "practical code
>fragmentation and generalisation" because I am not sure how this will be
>implemented or the results it may bring.

Two things. One me and Les have been discussing the possibility of starting
a "radical computing" mailing list on Yahoo and will inform comrades when
this is about to happen.

On the question of "programmerless applications", which Greg's forwarded
message seems to allude to, this was hyped relentlessly in the early 1990s.
It conceived of end-users selecting prefabricated modules that could be
cobbled together to produce results as the need arose. This, along with the
"paperless office" never came to fruition. With the arrival of PC's, there
was an enormous hope fostered to a large extent by PC software
"visionaries" like Phillipe Kahn, et al that software development could be
wrested from the highly centralized mainframe world and their
jargon-spouting programmers to the end user. To an extent this happened
with products like spreadsheets and databases, but for sophisticated
systems like payroll, etc. it could never happen. End users simply lack the
time and training to develop software that can handle complex tax
algorithms, etc.

I have a somewhat different take on the whole question of software
complexity. In general, you can say that 80 percent of all programming is
involved with keeping track of capital, either in the form of money or
securities. Furthermore, most of the programming effort involves redundancy
since a checking account application at Chase Manhattan is going to peform
the same basic functions of one at Barclay's.

Under socialism, and on the road to communism, we will find fewer and fewer
uses for money since we will be moving toward abundance. In such a
situation, computers will be used to track the production of USE VALUES
rather than EXCHANGE VALUES. As such, the good itself rather than its cash
equivalent will be paramount.

Louis Proyect
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