Patterns Of Software

Patterns of Software: Tales From The Software Community by RichardGabriel.

ISBN 0195121236

The book is also freely downloadable on RichardGabriel's website http://www.dreamsongs.com/

Challenging, interesting, insightful and frustrating. This book is a collection of essays based on Gabriel's series of columns for the JournalOfObjectOrientedProgramming.

There is a lot of heady stuff here. Gabriel doesn't pull any punches in his criticisms of the PatternCommunity and the whole software industry in general. (Some people may be pissed off by the things he says).

The two essays Habitability and Piecemeal Growth and The Bead Game, Rugs and Beauty alone are worth the price of the book.

The book has a foreword by ChristopherAlexander and for you trivia buffs out there: the book is published by Oxford University Press.

-- ToddCoram
There's some good advice for writers (and writer wannabes) in the chapter WritingBroadside.

-- DaveSmith (9/3/96)
Anybody who's ever worked for a dying software company will find "Into The Ground: Lisp" and "Into The Ground: C++" painfully accurate.

-- BetsyHanesPerry
A fantastically valuable book, now in paperback for about $15.

And still immediately relevant: one company I was looking at (interesting startup with a product possibly of interest to my company) listed as its leader the same guy who, in Gabriel's opinion, destroyed Lucid. A good early warning sign, that.

-- KenMeltsner


This is a great book. I think of it as being like running into RichardGabriel at a conference. (I've never met him.) You have dinner together, and a long rambling conversation about the nature of beauty, programming techniques, favourite languages, and your lives. It's unusual to find a single book that covers such a range.

-- MartinPool.


This book also contains the most negative foreword I've ever read. The book is quite shocking in many ways. No punches are pulled. It made me realise how impersonal and anodyne most computer science books really are. The only other book that I've felt disrupted complacency in the same way is PeteMcBreen's QuestioningExtremeProgramming. I haven't finished it yet but it looks good and thought-provoking. -- AdewaleOshineye


I agree that this is a great book, but I found it thoroughly depressing. This is partly due to the dog-eat-dog picture painted of Lisp's glory days, with all these famous people trying to beat each other out and having a miserable time. That at least had the compensation of curing my envy of the people involved. But worse was that I couldn't understand the motivation of these people. What was driving them to create all this marvelleous software? How can RPG lament so bitterly the fate of Lucid and yet pass over the fate of the software they created?

But then, the values that seemed to be missing in the text itself are reflected strongly by the book being available in PDF for all to read forever, regardless of its commercial fate. A complicated fellow, this RichardGabriel. -- LukeGorrie
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