Thursday, March 1, 2012

You Can't Buy Everything At The Bazaar- Yet

The first rule of good software is that it scratches the programmer's personal itch. Unfortunately, not everyone with an itch is a programmer. Programming exists as a profession precisely because not everyone with a problem is capable of effectively solving it themselves, and thus someone has to get paid for scratching other people's itches. This will always be the case, because no matter how widely computer literacy is spread throughout society, some people will always be better at it than others; the fact that almost everyone can read and write does not make novelists obsolete, and the same is true for good programmers. This seems to imply that there will always be bad software maintained by people who care only as far as they are paid. However, there is one way out: as the population of programmers expands, the probability that one of them shares whatever problem you may have grows. When the bazaar is big enough, one just has to solve the problem of finding the person who wants to make what you need.