Wednesday, August 29, 2007

NASA, Java, and Defending The Title

Like many CtJ readers, I'm a big fan of Wired magazine.

People have noticed lately that Wired has a major interest in (a) the private sector space race and (b) railing against NASA.

Consider these stories:

That's a small sample. The overall theme, for years, is that NASA is a bloated, incompetent bureaucracy and that the small private entrepreneurs are much more agile and effective.

I don't know a lot about engineering, and I don't really want to get into politics (public versus private sector). I just see parallels.... especially with this retort in Aug 07's Letters to the Editor (by George C. Mantis):
... you [Wired] dismiss government space programs. Yet those supposedly inept, wasteful programs have orbited humans around the Earth countless times, erected and maintained numerous crewed space stations, and traveled to the surface of the moon and back seven times. Elon Musk... has achieved two failures in two launch attempts... at the cost of $100 million.
Game on! In the one corner, we have the maverick upstart ventures: lean and mean, agile, and ready to change the world. In the other corner, we have an entity, though bloated, that has the title of Heavyweight Champion: it may be a lumbering giant, but its career achievement is formidable.

Wait a minute. Lean versus Bloated. Nimble versus Plodding. Hmmmmm....

So if we had, say, Erlang, Ruby/Rails, and Haskell in one corner and then Java/EE in the other.... then perhaps some would argue that the upstarts can circumvent the red tape of bureaucracy, and others would point to the fantastic legacy of the Champion (and its honed one two punch combination).

Fascinating. Let's order pizza and we'll watch both title bouts....

ps. Naturally, some might argue that there is in fact another Heavyweight Champion of the World.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

To take your analogy further:

Java did great in pushing the known boundaries and redefining the state of the art, much like Nasa did with the Apollo landings.
Today though, Java smells legacy, the JCP bureaucracy and lack of true innovation also bear resemblance.
I don't believe Java will ever do another moon landing, only minor satellite projects enough to keep going but not terribly interesting compared to the competitors.