On Wed, Jun 26, 2019 at 9:12 PM <tuhs@eric.allman.name> wrote:
I think Larry is right, but also wrong.  I think I can speak from

The goal of research is not to produce consumer-ready code, but to
explore ideas.  Nasty things sometimes happen in that environment.

But that doesn't mean that code doesn't have to work. 
And BTW, Mach is an example of something that did work.  And it worked "good enough" -- I think Ted's comments follow exactly these ideas.

My introduction to coding on a research project was INGRES, at the time the competitor to System R (now DB/2, better known as "anything SQL") from IBM Research.  By the very nature of the problem, the main complaint was that "Relational Databases Cannot Work" --- so proving that they could was a major part of the research agenda.

At one point (pre-commercial) INGRES stored the telecom wiring diagram of New York City.  It wasn't always a pleasant experience, but we learned a lot, mostly happy, most of the time.  A lot of our motivationwas because real people were using our code to do real work.  Had we hung them out in the wind to dry, we wouldn't have gotten that feedback, and frankly I think RDBMS wouldn't have progressed so far and so fast.

But when I left INGRES I talked with Mike Stonebraker, who asked me
where I thought the project should be going.  At that point I thought it
was clear that the research objectives had been satisfied, and there was the beginnings of a commercial company to move it forward, so I advised that the old code base (which at that point I had written or
substantially modified well over 50%) should be abandoned.  Do a new system from scratch, in any language, (and I quote) "even in LISP if that's the right decision."  Unfortunately the first version of Postgres
was written in LISP --- my breed of humor was apparently unappreciated at that time.  But from a research perspective the goal was no longer to produce something that actually worked in the real world, but to explore new ideas, including bad ones.  I wasn't involved with Postgres personally, but I think Larry's analysis was essentially correct as I know it.

I was extraordinarily lucky to have ended up at Berkeley in the mid-70s when UNIX was just becoming a "thing", and I can assure you that while there were a lot of people who just wanted to get their degrees, there was also a large cadre wanting to produce good stuff that could make peoples' lives better.
Well said thanks,