Subject Firebird and Open Source
Author Jim Starkey
I have recent become aware that the closed Firebird-admin list has
become an architectural forum. I, for one, think this is a very bad way
to run an open source project. Decent architecture, whether close or
open source, requires full, open, critical discussion by project

Software architecture is the art of making the pieces fit together. It
can't be done in secret. People who have expertise in particular
corners need to see the big picture to ensure that their piece fits with
the others and to raise a flag when it doesn't.

The strength of DEC's engineering was an institutional recognization
that management and architectural skills were antithetical. Few people
had both skills, and those that did couldn't do a decent job with either
when trying to do both. Architecture is democratic. Administration is

Borland let managers do architecture. The design of Borland's failed
undo log was dictated by the Interbase engineering manager. When told
that the design didn't work, he ordered engineers to make it work. Even
an inspired manager can't force a fundamentally unsound design to fly.
Nor can the self-annointed few that make up the Firebird admin list.

This project has an unfortunate history of people thinking that
technical decisions can and should be made in private, then announced to
world as a fait accompli. All designs should be discussed and
criticisms answered before implementation. Designs that can't stand the
light of day should not be candidates for inclusion in the product.

I have no objection to the admin list being closed for posting, but I
object strenuously to a tiny number of individuals presuming to make
architectural decisions in secret that are presumably binding on the
rest of the project.

Ladies and gentlemen, I protest.


Jim Starkey
Netfrastructure, Inc.
978 526-1376