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.. Hello Earthling .. \o/ :)

Words of wisdom from Miguel de Icaza (must read)
Monday, June 28, 2004

Miguel says:A small story I like to tell people: when I started writing Gnumeric, I was very afraid of one thing: the computational engine. How do we recalculate the value of cells when a change happens? How do we make this perform well? How do we do iterative computations? How do you resolve recursive references?

All of those problems were fairly scary, and I did not have an answer to them. I looked at all the source code I could find for spreadsheets around that time, and none of it did even a remotely good job: it was all pretty amateur, and none of it really did anything remotely close to what commercial software did.

I started work on Gnumeric nonetheless, figuring `When the time comes, I will face that problem', and spent the next three months making sure that Gnumeric was visually pleasant, that it looked like Excel, and that the "feel" was right. I tried to implement computations trivially during that time in a couple hour hack and that failed miserably.

By the third month, I decided I would not touch a computer until I figured out an algorithm for doing these computations, I took a pencil and a notebook and went to write down the steps. Surprisingly after a few hours of work I had something that looked correct.

That same day I implemented the computational engine with the features I wanted and it just worked!

What I like about this story, is that I could have given up at any point since there was a large problem ahead of me: a problem I had no answers to. And I see this with many free software developers, students and even in normal social situations: people stop doing things because they see a big problem ahead of them that they can not possibly conceive working around. My advise to every young programmer is to start writing code and delay addressing imaginary problems until they become real
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