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Re: Changing from L4 to something else...

From: Jonathan S. Shapiro
Subject: Re: Changing from L4 to something else...
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2005 14:39:05 -0400

On Fri, 2005-10-28 at 17:38 +0200, Alfred M. Szmidt wrote:
>    If certain people wrote one line of code for every hundred lines of
>    argumentation email, Hurd would be finished by now.
> I just did, did you?  Infact, I have written aprox 1000 lines of code
> over the past two days.

If you are twice as good as the average programmer, 10 of those lines
will survive to the final version of whatever you are building. This is
no negative reflection on you personally; it is simply how the
programmer productivity demographics work out. You personally may be
better or worse than that.

An average programmer will produce 20,000 to 20,000 lines of code a
year, of which between 4,000 and 5,000 will be retained. The number
retained goes DOWN as the number produced goes up (which is not
surprising when you think about it). A really great coder may produce
40,000 to 45,000 lines a year. Of these, approximately 20,000 will be
retained. This is how you know that they are a great coder.

Now here is a curious thing: all programmers *believe* that they are
great coders, but of course, programmer quality follows a bell curve,
and so the majority of programmers are very close to average. When I
suggest that Alfred is twice as productive as the average programmer,
this is being very generous. This would actually place him in the top
15% of all programmers. The likelihood that he actually belongs that far
up the ranking is extremely small, simply because Alfred is relatively
young and programmers tend to grow into their most productive years in
their 30's.

My point: lines of code produced is a crap metric. The metric you want
is lines of code *retained*.


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