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Wiki:WorseIsBetter From an analysis of why C and UNIX develop faster than Lisp [1].

DickGabriel recently came up with various refactored versions for WorseIsBetter, see http://xarch.tu-graz.ac.at/autocad/wiki/WorseIsBetter.

This is also the story of Apple vs. IBM->Wintel. Apple has a level of hardware and software integration that is mindboggling, but going in as a user and changing hardware configuration is difficult, as is putting together an OperatingSystem for it other than the one built for it. (BeOS learned this lesson and is now out of the Power PC business) The architecture that evolved into the standard PC architecture today, on the other hand, has lots of cards that interplay with lots of motherboards that interplay with lots of processors which interplay with many many many OperatingSystems. Because the level you have to reach to be a player on the PC systems field of battle is much lower, there are many more players and many more customers, which allows greater economies of scale, which allows you to lower the barrier to entry.


From reading WeavingTheWeb, TimBernersLee's book on the creation of the web, it is clear that hypertext in the HTML-and-HTTP sense is WorseIsBetter, while TedNelson's XanaduProject, a grand unified, insanely-great hypertext system, has been proudly VaporWare for some time. Concepts such as "show me the code," RoughConsensusAndWorkingCode, WorseIsBetter and having the reference implementation done before the standard ships, all strongly part of the RFC system of the InternetEngineeringTaskForce, is the one true way. Most of what I value in computing comes from this sort of philosophy.

Is RoughConsensusAndWorkingCode the same as WorseIsBetter? --DaveJacoby

WorseIsBetter is intended to leave a bad taste in your mouth. It is used by adherents of (supposedly) better ideas to malign users of (supposedly) inferior technologies. The LISP vs C example is a prime case. RoughConsensusAndWorkingCode is a statement of a design philosophy, and is self labelling by its own adherents. Not an epithet. --ErikDeBill

WorseIsBetter was intended to be a disparaging remark, but sometimes it has been adopted by its targets. It is especially useful when the "better" solution doesn't exist or has failed in the marketplace. I often try to remind myself that worse-existing is far more useful today than better-planned. You can work with "worse", and often create an improved 1.1 or 2.0 version, but it's hard to do much with a "better" solution that doesn't exist. --CliffordAdams


WorseIsBetter is almost the same as "open is better". Compare the open PC (worse) architecture with SteveJobs? tightly controlled (and failing) Mac (better) architecture, or MicroSoft Windows (closed) versus Linux (open).

Both of those examples are debatable. ;-)

This is also the story of Smalltalk and Java. --RandyStafford

It applies to everything in my eyes. I used it for my FFI design, for GUI design [2], Visual Basic and Java are that popular because they are worse. But I'm Lisper. --ReiniUrban


See also: HighRoadLowRoad.

See also: PreemptiveModeration|Wikis


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