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Re: [ontac-forum] Re: The world may fundamentally be inexplicable

To: ontac-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: David Eddy <deddy@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 11 Jan 2006 08:41:55 -0500
Message-id: <r02010500-1043-084B99D482A811DABB8B000A95AEB2DA@[]>
John (Sowa) -    (01)

> Unless we can provide a migration path for legacy systems, we have
> done *nothing* that anybody would actually use.
>    (02)

BUT!    (03)

The Legacy systems are NOT going to migrate anywhere, at least not in
any great numbers or in rapid fashion.    (04)

Legacy systems tend to have a life of their own that defies rebuilding.    (05)

What happens is that legacy systems keep chugging along long past their
expected service life.      (06)

They're built.      (07)

They're paid for.      (08)

They work within relatively known operational boundaries.      (09)

People know where the potholes are & mostly know how to step around
them.      (010)

Too many organizational rice bowls are comfortable with the status quo.    (011)

Complaining about how nasty the system is becomes a macho organizational
sport.  It is VERY unlikely that any ONE manager/line-of-business is
going to step up with money to entirely replace the ol' beast.      (012)

What I--speaking as a legacy systems maintenance
analyst/programmer--want from ontology/semantics efforts is a software
mechanism that allows me to easily grok what the old system is talking
about & doing, so that I can inch it forward.    (013)

When I have an easy-to-use mechanism that can help understand what MY
system is doing, then I can more easily have it talk/work with YOUR
system.    (014)

Given the tremendous diversity of legacy systems, in my mind it is
neither possible nor useful to tilt after some mythical single unifying
theory.  [Just this week I was reading about 8 scripting languages for
little ol' 5% marketshare Macintosh.  Please to remember that Java
didn't exist 15 years ago... it was a dream project called Oak.]    (015)

Mother Nature has a few million years head start to organize Her bag of
tricks.      (016)

Legacy systems have been relentlessly thrown together over the past 50+
years by capricious humans & to believe there is "organization" inside
those systems is dangerous fantasy.      (017)

Said another way... System A may indeed be very well organized for its
purposes, but System B was built on a different idiom which while
adequate for B, is in conflict with A.  Management now expects A & B to
live harmoniously.  Riiiiiight.    (018)

A may be organized.  B may be organized.  A + B is NOT organized, and
management expects them to play together.    (019)

[Remember... EDS expected to be working on 5,000 systems for the Navy.
They found 100,000.]    (020)

Ontology needs to give me--the maintenance analyst/programmer--something
to deal with TODAY's fires.  My todo list is far too long to be dreaming
about the ideally architected next system.
_____________________    (021)

- David Eddy
Babson Park, MA
781-455-0949    (022)

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