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Erlkönig: ESR Truisms

Eric Raymond truisms, from a 1997 file.
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Various, reverse-ranked truisms by Eric Raymond from the late 1990s.

19 Provided the development coordinator has a medium at least as good as the Internet, and knows how to lead without coercion, many heads are inevitably better than one.
18 To solve an interesting problem, start by finding a problem that is interesting to you.
17 A security system is only as secure as its secret. Beware of pseudo-secrets.
16 When your language is nowhere near Turing-complete, syntactic sugar can be your friend.
15 When writing gateway software of any kind, take pains to disturb the data stream as little as possible -- and *never* throw away information unless the recipient forces you to!
14 Any tool should be useful in the expected way, but a *great* tool lends itself to uses you never expected.
13 ``Perfection (in design) is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but rather when there is nothing more to take away.''
12 Often, the most striking and innovative solutions come from realizing that your concept of the problem was wrong.
11 The next best thing to having good ideas is recognizing good ideas from your users. Sometimes the latter is better.
10 If you treat your beta-testers as if they're your most valuable resource, they will respond by becoming your most valuable resource.
9 Smart data structures and dumb code works a lot better than the other way around.
8 Given a large enough beta-tester and co-developer base, almost every problem will be characterized quickly and the fix obvious to someone.
7 Release early. Release often. And listen to your customers.
6 Treating your users as co-developers is your least-hassle route to rapid code improvement and effective debugging.
5 When you lose interest in a program, your last duty to it is to hand it off to a competent successor.
4 If you have the right attitude, interesting problems will find you.
3 ``Plan to throw one away; you will, anyhow.'' (Fred Brooks, ``The Mythical Man-Month'', Chapter 11)
2 Good programmers know what to write. Great ones know what to rewrite (and reuse).
1 Every good work of software starts by scratching a developer's personal itch.
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