[volt-nuts] do you like Labview in your labs?

Chuck Harris cfharris at erols.com
Mon Dec 6 19:30:41 UTC 2010

J. Forster wrote:
> Why use LabVIEW?
> Because it is largely a standard and a lot of bugs have been found. Also,
> programmers don't screw with it, unbenownst of all the users.

If you stick with a stable version of an opensource software product, and
don't upgrade it, programmers won't "screw with it".  On the other hand, if
you upgrade any software, open source, or not, programmers will have screwed
with it.  That's why it is called an upgrade.

> A parable:
> Many years ago, I was using a DG RDOS system. I had several large HDs (for
> the day). A guy at Harvard, with a PhD and more, wrote a "backup" utility
> that would back up a HD to mag tape. A single tape would hold a couple of
> dozen disks, and cost about $10 vs. another HD platter at>$200.
> I used it, but it had a bug, and predictably, I eventually had a system
> crash. NP, I thought.
> It turns out, the "backup" utility backed up ONLY DP0....   NOT THE OTHER

So, you discovered the problem with using an incompetent programmer.  They
exist.  Any competent programmer would have tested the utility to make sure
that you could backup and restore everything the utility was supposed to
backup and restore.

> That's a lesson I've never forgotten. It cost me near a year to recover.
> Sorry, but I am simply not interested in home brew SW, no matter who
> writes it. I do not trust any individual programmers for anything
> important.

Most of the opensource projects are built by teams.  Virtually every project
that I mentioned earlier were written by corporate teams.  Openoffice.org is by
Sun. Mozilla, by Netscape.  SELinux, by NSA. Octave, by the University of
Texas, and funded by DEC, SUN, IBM, ..., OpenSolaris is by Sun.  Python is
by the Python Software Foundation (A non-profit corporation).  The ubiquitous
scripting language PERL was written by the genius Larry Wall.

Further, if you used any of the earlier versions of windows (95,98,XP), the
IP layer, and PPP code were lifted verbatim from BSD unix.  IE was based on
the open source mosaic project.

I can't think of a single microprocessor/controller manufacturer in the last
15 years that didn't first do the porting work for their new machine to the
opensource GCC compiler.

You are really doing yourself a disservice letting the experiences you had
with one incompetent programmer keep you from enjoying the goodies offered
by the opensource software movement.  If you stay with the stable releases
of Debian, or Ubuntu, or Mint linux, I dare say you will never find a bug.

-Chuck Harris

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