Friday, January 27, 2006

fanaticism in the software industry

I recently made a silly comment on the oracle-wtf blog regarding the use of htmldb as a serious web application tool. Now in hindsight I really shouldn't have, as it was not directly related to the post in question, but it was in the new year, I was bored, and It seemed funny at the time. What I was wasn't prepared for, though, was the nature of the response! Very quickly it became an argument about whether going a j2EE/.Net route was preferable to a purely oracle solution. The bias really came out as it was obvious that the respondents hadn't really bothered to actually read and understand my comments correctly ( I’m guessing this was the case as I was consistently misquoted ), but instead simply made the assumption that I was being a pro Java zealot. I was even accused of changing my stance at one point , which is particularly odd as the comments used to justify this was in fact a rather cruel sideswipe at the programming skills of one of the posters ( which I fully take back, btw )My main point was that I didn't think it was the best option to use the RDBMS as the environment to host your presentation code. Even when I stated this rather explicitly one of the posters had the temerity to state that this wasn't my point after all!Since that little exchange It has occurred to me that this is not a new phenomenon but has been around for years in various guises. e.g. the windows/unix debate, the java vs C debate, the Oracle vs SQL server debate, the Mac vs PC debate etc etc.What amazes me about these little 'religious wars' is the sheer fanaticism of either side.Richard Dawkins  ( of Selfish Gene, and the Blind Watchmaker fame ) has recently presented a TV show entitled 'the root of all evil?' which takes a look at religious belief and how this is directly opposed to a scientific outlook. ( Im guessing this is based on an open letter that Dawkins published after the 11th of September terrorist attack, as a lot of the arguments used are the same ).After watching the programme, and my recent flaming on oracle-wtf,  I was struck by the similarity between the blinkered view of religious fanatics and the blinkered view of those on either side in these pseudo-religious wars in the IT world.