Parrot post-mortem

Thursday 20 October 2005

I haven’t followed the progress of the Parrot at all, though I know vaguely what is: a multi-language VM. Dan Sugalski was the architect of it, but has left. His Parrot Post-Mortem is a fascinatingly honest account of what went right and what went wrong with the project. It includes technical issues, inter-personal issues, and he’s not afraid to admit to his own failings. It seems like the kind of manifesto that should be used to guide future projects.


Damien Katz 12:14 PM on 21 Oct 2005

Interesting reading, but mostly he seems to indicate that if only he had coded more and others less, things would have gone better. Blaming the Leo guy explicitly by name is simply unprofessional.

Ned Batchelder 12:17 PM on 21 Oct 2005

He acknowledges that it is "unprofessional". But I think one of the refreshing things about the post-mortem is that he talks about it anyway. I've been on many projects that have had a problem member, and not being allowed to say it doesn't help.

Saying Leo was a problem may be "unprofessional". But that doesn't mean he wasn't actually a huge problem. If he was a problem, then I salute Dan for saying so.

Damien Katz 3:10 PM on 21 Oct 2005

Yeah, the way he describe Leo reminded me a few people I've worked with, he's probably telling the truth.

I still think naming names like that is unprofessional, especially for a volunteer effort. Of course, I've NEVER done anything unprofessional, so I can criticize :)

andrew 4:31 PM on 21 Oct 2005

I once worked with this dork we'll call "Ned". Man, that guy could code...but he had this weird thing about singing when he KNEW that he was coding hacks. So I'd hear him over there, going "do dit dit dit do do do" and just KNOW that some over the top, objects-up-the-wazoo thing was going to appear in cvs soon. Sure, it would work but that VOICE...

Ned Batchelder 10:46 AM on 22 Oct 2005

Yeah, I remember that guy! The only thing worse than him was this Andrew fellow. If he wasn't listening to Rush Limbaugh, he was yelling his head off about something or other...

Dan 4:28 PM on 24 Oct 2005

Well, you may consider it uprofessional, and I admit I do too, but as I said, not acknowledging the problem "that guy" brought with him, both directly and indirectly, would've left a good chunk of the problem unsaid. And, as I said, if you were involved in the project you knew that was a problem. Calling him "that guy" wouldn't have mattered, since you either knew exactly who I was talking about, or using his name wouldn't have been any different from using an alias, since you'd not know who he was.

I didn't want to imply that if only I wrote more code and other people wrote less things'd be Just Swell, since that's not the case -- my over-committment was certainly a big problem all by itself. But if even half the effort I had to put in to deal with "that guy" had been able to be used to write docs, specs, and API sketches we'd have been much better off.

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