Python for air traffic control?

Jarno J Virtanen jajvirta at
Wed Jul 4 13:40:54 CEST 2001

Wed, 4 Jul 2001 11:37:25 +0200 Alex Martelli wrote:
> My impression is that most development shops
> underestimate the importance of keeping their best programmers and
> attracting other super-performers -- because it's not acknowledged
> yet that the individual performance variation between the best
> programmer in the best environment, and a mediocre programmer in
> a mediocre environment, is MANY orders of magnitude (easily a
> factor of 1,000 -- look at those *hundreds of times performance
> ratios* above-quoted for best-Python vs worst-C...!!!).  Once this
> little fact does start to be realized, we may move into a kind of
> "superstar economy" for developers, as is currently in force in
> sports, show-business, CEO's, traders, and some professions (lawyers,
> doctors), where top performers earn _disproportionately_ more than
> mediocre counterparts -- which will have its own problems (and how!),
> but very different ones from today's relative "flattening" (where a
> performance that's 1,000 times better is only rewarded 10 or 20
> times better, if that).

[not that you didn't know this already ..]

Isn't this just what Frederick Brooks claimed in "The Mythical

quoting from the anniversary edition:

a) Adding people to a software project increases the total effort
   necessary in three ways: the work and disruption of repartitioning
   itself, training the new people, and added intercommunication.

   ("hence" Brooks's Law: Adding manpower to a late software project 
     makes it later.)

b) Very good professional programmers are ten times as productive as
   poor ones, at same training and two-year experience level. 
   (Sackman, Grant and Erickson)


   A small sharp team is best -- as few minds as possible.

(This, of course, is not all there's to it.)

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