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Open Source Programming Software

A Gentle Rant About Software Development and Installers 338

Nerval's Lobster writes "This is the story of the comparison that just wasn't meant to be. It's a story of everything that can go wrong in the customer end of the software world, and some thoughts on what needs to be done, especially in an area known as Installers. I'm a software engineer with 25 years of experience, and for years I've wanted to point out some of the shortcomings of my own industry to help make it better for everyone involved—not only for the end-users, but also for the IT people who have to support the products; the salespeople who have to sell and later, possibly, apologize for the software; for the executives whose hands are tied because they don't have the technical knowledge to roll up their sleeves and help fix problems in the code; and for the programmers themselves who might get stuck with what some consider the absolute worst position for a programmer: maintenance of crappy code written by programmers who have long since left the organization."
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A Gentle Rant About Software Development and Installers

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  • Re:Okay. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Giant Electronic Bra ( 1229876 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @11:51AM (#42094265)

    Because most Enterprise software (and I manage a product line which is definitely in this category) isn't something so simple that you can install it with RPM or Installshield (or whatever the heck MS calls it now). There are multiple interacting services, very specific dependencies for things that are often not packaged at all for the target platform and usually cannot be distributed, etc. Complex databases, usually on other machines, have to be set up, XML files edited, etc to even create a basic working environment for our software. Now, MOST things might not be quite this complicated, but I suspect most software that you have to install largely by hand has many of these kinds of issues. Most of this stuff has to integrate fairly deeply with the client's IT infrastructure and setting up the basic applications is only a small part of it.

    In our case we have some installers for some specific tools, but the main product? No, it wouldn't materially assist in setup and would just be yet another task to maintain when some tarballs/zips, thorough instructions, and heavy tech support works fine. You're already typically paying from 10's to 100's of K up front and 1000's a month to even run real Enterprise class software anyway. Surprisingly installer tech that was designed around simple desktop apps is just not that helpful. Our installer is a guy that shows up at you office, lol.

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire