Interesting guest post on Charlie Stross’ blog by M. Harold Page “Why tank stories make great tech myths“, comparing the history of tank warfare with software development.
However, you’re a sophisticated lot, so call the above “A word from our sponsor” and let me tell you why I think tank stories make great tech myths.
First some examples…
We all know the one about the Panther and the T34. The Panther is the better tank, when the Russian mud hasn’t knocked it out, when it doesn’t need shipping to Czechoslovakia for repair, when it’s not being spammed by cheap and cheerful T34s.
That’s a story that ought to be taught to engineers and software developers. Sometimes perfect means “delivered now”. It’s reputedly the Duke Nukem Forever story, but that’s just the most anecdotal example of chasing perfection at the expense of practicality. I’m sure you guys have others.
He doesn’t develop the metaphor quite as much as I’d have liked, preferring to talk about actual tanks. But it’s still an interesting read,