REBOL Technologies

On Complexity: when you can't even get time right

Carl Sassenrath, CTO
REBOL Technologies
9-Mar-2009 3:21 GMT

Article #0400
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Surprise! The clock on my XP SP3 laptop was wrong by 1 hour today.

Why? Because the USA switched to daylight savings time (DST) this weekend but many of our computers did not. If you search the web, you will find many users complaining about it.

I know that I will get many messages from people commenting and saying, oh, well the reason is you did not download the zyx or xyz OS patch recently, blah blah blah.

Look, I don't care. Getting the time right is not brain surgery. All of my user settings and options are correct, this OS was completely reinstalled and fully updated two months ago, with all patches!

And, my OS X Mac didn't have a problem, nor did my various Linux boxes.

Please, stop making excuses for Microsoft.

Those excuses are really getting old. 20 years ago, well, maybe ok. Now, in 2009, I'm tired of hearing them.

On one hand you're telling me that I'm running one of the most popular, widely used, well recognized, "most advanced" operating systems on earth from the absolutely largest software company on earth. And then, on the other hand, you think it's ok it fails to set its time properly.

I am a language and operating system designer. That is what I do, and what I have done now for almost three decades. I know what's going on in these systems, and it's time you stop accepting it as "that's just how it works".

The root of the problem is complexity.

Most designers don't think about complexity, yet it is a corruption, a disease, an erosion that eats its way through all systems of all types. To ignore it, to not recognize it, that's foolishness and insanity. Yet that's our modern world, isn't it?

And yes, it goes a lot deeper than just this little DST glitch, and it's much much bigger.... why banks fall, why governments fail. And no, I'm not talking about time here, I'm talking about derivative actions built on derivative actions, built so complex, that no one knows, or even has any idea, how the system should behave or react to simple input changes, let alone extreme situations.

I've been biting my tongue far too long. It's time to start saying a few things. If you don't understand complexity, then you and your projects are ultimately doomed. So, let's take a better path.

More to be said...

23 Comments

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