Complexity is the problem. Count the parts!

Charles Moore, the venerable inventor of FORTH, has this to say regarding the likely-dim future of technology:

Complexity is the problem. Moving it from hardware to software, or vice versa, doesn’t help. Simplicity is the only answer. There was a product many years ago called the Canon Cat. It was a simple, dedicated word processor; done very nicely in Forth. Didn’t succeed commercially. But then, most products don’t. I despair. Technology, and our very civilization, will get more and more complex until it collapses. There is no opposing pressure to limit this growth. No environmental group saying: Count the parts in a hybrid car to judge its efficiency or reliability or maintainability. All I can do is provide existence proofs: Forth is a simple language; OKAD is a simple design tool; GreenArrays offers simple computer chips. No one is paying any attention.”

“Chuck Moore: Geek of the Week” by Richard Morris.

Will anyone listen?

This entry was written by Stanislav , posted on Monday August 17 2009 , filed under SoftwareArchaeology, SoftwareSucks . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

3 Responses to “Complexity is the problem. Count the parts!”

  • Stanislav says:

    Dear Anonymous,

    The reason why you see mostly hot air in this blog is that:

    A) philosophizing is an easier and more public act than writing code, esp. on a deliberately non-collaborative project, and
    B) this is my designated place for spewing hot air.

    Contrary to popular belief, I have been doing plenty of real work on Loper – I simply no longer feel any compulsion to post code for public ridicule until it sums to something undeniably interesting.

    In addition to “angst”, you will find a number of specific complaints as food for thought – along with proposed solutions, often discovered before I was born – and *entirely ignored to this day.* See the discussion of automatic register discipline, for example.

    If you have grown bored with my own writings, I invite you to delve into the recommended readings: for instance, the Lambda Papers. You will not be disappointed.

    Cheers,
    S. Datskovskiy

  • A nony mous says:

    Why is your emphasis on “everything sucks” and not “I should make something that doesn’t suck”? With the general tone of this blog (that I still read, hoping it will change) I can only see it being a collection of continued angst until you die…

  • A nony mous says:

    I apologise for my overly-harsh remark, which I wrote rather too quickly. Since you had previously presented some code that boots, I assumed that you’d be committing to that repository. I’m interested, then, to see what becomes of Loper. :)

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