All good tools are bad


Why is all the software we have "bad" or "flawed"?

I see that as a question of perception. What makes something "bad" in the first place?

We usually define sonmething as being bad or flawed if it doesn't live up to certain standards or expectations. So maybe it's the expectaions we have towards software that are wrong? Can software even deliver what we expect it to? What do we expect from software?

We see software as a tool. As a tool to achieve certain tasks. Just like other things we have as tools. Just like physical tools.

Let's compare software to a brush. A brush made for caligraphy. Making those brushed is a high form of art and craftsmanship. A caligraphy brush can be a very expensive tool, and a very valued one. But does this uber-brush, the pinacle of it's kind, make us good caligraphers? Does it ensure clean lines without spilt ink? No, it doesn't. So is all this effort, love and money worth it? Ask any caligrapher.

Tools, especially good tools don't replace craftmanship. They do not grant perfect results. Good tools enable us to pratice our skills to the fullest. They will never give us those skills. And some of the very best tools will be outright unuseable to unskilled novices. Does that make them "bad" or "flawed"?

We should see software as a tool, and not as a magic bullet.


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Martin Spernau
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