Re: [SystemSafety] Another academic safety workshop / why not industrialists ?

From: Les Chambers < >
Date: Thu, 22 Jan 2015 09:46:30 +1000

Stout fellow.
My personal theory is that the software world is broken up into two social groups:
1) serious people
2) comedians
We'll be okay as long as the comedians do not get hold of any critical systems. Failing that, NASA is down to 700 candidate volunteers for a one-way trip to Mars. You could get on the list. Les

-----Original Message-----
From: systemsafety-bounces_at_xxxxxx [mailto:systemsafety-bounces_at_xxxxxx Martyn Thomas
Sent: Thursday, January 22, 2015 5:19 AM To: systemsafety_at_xxxxxx Subject: Re: [SystemSafety] Another academic safety workshop / why not industrialists ?


I've no idea whether or not it worked. We won some contracts and lost others. Praxis developed an international reputation for software engineering and quality. Lots of UK software companies became ISO 9001 (but there were other pressures on them). Formal methods are still not used on most projects that would benefit from them. And the software industry is probably about as far from being an engineering profession as it was in 1989 (and arguably further away than it was in 1969).

Is any of this to my credit, or my fault?

Probably a tiny amount, but I have no idea which part.

Must try harder ...


"There is nothing in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little more cheaply, and he who buys on price alone is this man's lawful prey" (John Ruskin [attrib])

On 18/01/2015 21:08, Les Chambers wrote:
> Martyn
> This was a serious question. If the strategy did work it would restore my
> faith in humanity. In a past life I was involved in a similar scenario.
> difference was that we concentrated on evangelising quality to our clients
> not our competition. The strategy did work and the story is documented
> One thing I learnt is that it is very hard to motivate people off the page
> (for example, by handing them a set of quality standards). One cannot
> separate great ideas from the manner of their articulation and the manner
> their articulation will depend on who is doing the articulating. And what
> say about safety and quality is deeply connected to the way we say it,
> is connected, in turn, to the values we hold. Great truths are to be
> not on the page, but in the real world. Only then will they be embodied by
> the unbeliever (usus est magister optimus).
> If you could translate the paragraph above into Latin I would be most
> grateful.
> Les

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