March 17, 2006
Cybernetics and Simplicity

Who knew? There's a cybernetic scientific principle to back up the "simple software" movement as promoted in words and actions by 37 Signals. The law says that if your system (here, software) is more flexible it will be able to handle more usage scenarios. As discussed all over the place on Signal vs. Noise, simple software is flexible because as you try to apply it to new situations it doesn't have a lot of parts that get in the way.

I like the connection. It also rhymes with basic intuitions from physics and mathematics: The more constraints (i.e. features) you add to a system (of equations), the fewer solutions (i.e. uses) it has.

The Unix Way was bred from this understanding more than 30 years ago. It's saddening that the economics of selling software (mainly Windows + MS Office, but there are other culprits) has led us on such a detour.

Posted by Claus at March 17, 2006 12:28 AM | TrackBack (0)
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