I worked for the Linux Foundation on the Core Infrastructure Initiative supporting OpenSSL and other projects. The one that scared me was Expat the XML parser maintained by two people on alternate Sunday afternoons assuming no other distractions. We did get funding for a test suite. Joe Biden was a supporter of LF and CII and was going to host a fund raiser for us at the White House until a perverse result.220.127.116.11 22:46, 17 August 2020 (UTC)
Relevance of Imagemagick?
Could someone perhaps add to the explanation an explanation of how this applies to Imagemagick (as mentioned in the title text)? —18.104.22.168 22:58, 17 August 2020 (UTC)
- I don't use it myself, but it is a very versatile standalone utility that does a lot through command-line (batched) processing or can be accessed through actual API interface (I use GIMP tools that way, in automation, when not using it directly as a manual interface, but I understand there's a lot of love out there for IM). There's potentially untold uses for that, hidden in the background of other applications. If it disappeared or changed in just the wrong way, could perhaps half the CAPTCHA dialogues suddenly break? Could a self-driving car company find its vehicles are suddenly blind? We might suddenly have so many fewer Doge memes! (Wow! Much up-to-datedness! So topical!).
- In Randall's (or his characters') world, that is. In our world, I see someone mentioned Leftpad in the Explanation, which probably needs more Explanation (or else wikilinking) but is an interesting thing that actually happened in our world, albeit not quite armagg3don for society... 22.214.171.124 23:22, 17 August 2020 (UTC)
- Imagemagick is the de-facto standard for Image processing. Since the 90's engineers were either adding support for new formats to ImageMagick or adding new language bindings for ImageMagick. This resulted in a single library that is available on almost every server and desktop platform and can read and write almost every image format. Using imageMagick is sometimes unwieldly. e.g. on nodeJS it actually spawns a sub-process to run imagemagick. But it is still the de-facto (and the only practical) choice in most cases.--Deepjoy (talk) 00:24, 18 August 2020 (UTC)
from the late 2010s onwards?
I'm pretty sure re-use and modularization was a thing long before then. Maybe it got more popular in the 2010s, but it's been around since at least the '70s.
- The ideal of reusable code libraries has been around for nearly ever, but except for some popular Fortran statistics libraries I don't think it achieved widespread achievement until much later, e.g. CPAN. Barmar (talk) 03:25, 18 August 2020 (UTC)
The timezone database (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tz_database#History) has been around since 1986. libc in various forms has been around as long as C has. Reuse and modularity is a fundamental principle of software engineering, and not an invention of the last few years. I'd just remove any mention of date.
This has happened before
It may be worth mentioning a case where this actually happened, like https://www.theregister.com/2016/03/23/npm_left_pad_chaos/ 126.96.36.199 01:03, 18 August 2020 (UTC)
One particularly big risk that instantly came to mind is the timezone database, which is maintained by volunteers yet underpins basically everything: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tz_database#Maintenance
Some random person in Nebraska
Is the reference to a random person in Nebraska totally arbitrary, or is it a reference to someone in particular?
Also, it would be good to have examples of heavily used projects with very small (especially one person) maintainer teams. OpenSSL definitely comes to mind, from what I have read. Stevage (talk) 01:49, 18 August 2020 (UTC)
Nebraska came up in 1667, "Algorithms" as well.188.8.131.52 02:22, 18 August 2020 (UTC)
- Nebraska is... Well, I'm sure some Nebraskonians might have a more fully-fleshed out and accurate opinion of its subtleties, depth of culture(s?) and Diety-given geographic artisanship but viewed from further afield it is one of the contenders for "miles and miles of not much going on", or similar, peopled by people that largely live within that promise.
- It may be just a meme of such a generality, as a brief look at a list of people from Nebraska tends to support the hypothesis that the ones who became famous (Astair, Brando, Carson...) probably did so only once they left.
- OTOH, there are (at least) four computing pioneers/developers mentioned among them, creator or authors of significant 'products', and maybe one of these matches the (intellectual) dependency meme quite well - other than being written in Masacheusetts. Or this one, though that might have been LA-baked, maybe?
- I learnt some interesting things when investigating this issue, just now. Cheers! 184.108.40.206 09:54, 18 August 2020 (UTC)
Microservices reference is not related to this comic, as ImageMagick is monolith application. Also microservices are way of operating and deploying web services, not utility apps. 220.127.116.11 07:56, 18 August 2020 (UTC)