Friday, November 21, 2008

"Give me more eyeballs, all bugs are shallow"

A quiz I gave yesterday to my Open Source Technologies class:

1. The original developer and present chief architect of Linux.

2. Author of the Minix operating system.

3. Author of the GNU Public License and founder of the Free Software Foundation.

4. The Linux mascot.

5. Author of "The Cathedral and the Bazaar."

6. Author of "They Mythical Man-Month."

7. State "Linus' Law."

8.-10. Name three funding companies of The Linux Foundation.

How well do you think you would do?

Even if you're not into computers at all, with just day-to-day reading and some fairly good guesses, you'd probably get four to five correct answers. If you know about open source, you'd probably get a six to eight.

My students? Didn't fare too well. The mode of the scores was 4, but there were several who still managed to get a zero. This despite my lectures, my posting of the presentation on our Google groups, and a reading assignment with guide questions.

Confirms my theory that most of them just spend the time in class daydreaming. Good thing there are a few bright lights, especially in the IT section.

Still, it's very disappointing that almost no one knows their computer history. They don't know about the story of UNIX, and they don't know who Brian Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie are. The excuse? "That was in first year, sir!"

Sigh. But we soldier on. At least I got some funny reformulations to Linus' Law. See title above.

Other winners:

"Given a bug, it takes many eyeballs to find it."

"For many eyeballs, all bugs are shallow."

"For every eyeballs, bugs are shallow."