The SpikeSource Approach

O’Reilly Network: Participatory Testing: The SpikeSource Approach

Wow. In the very first paragraph of his essay, Murugan Pal (SpikeSource’s CTO) quotes the Apache FAQ without attribution. This, of course, is a fine tradition known as plagiarism where I come from, and is likely to get you kicked out of any self-respecting university, even for as seeminly minor an offense as two little sentences — plagiarism is plagiarism. All it takes to avoid it is five extra little words: “As the Apache FAQ notes, “…

Edit: The article has since been updated with a link to the Apache FAQ. Good for SpikeSource! There’s still the issue of “is an acronym for” vs. “is incorrectly thought to be an acronym for”… but at least now users can more easily see and compare the original and the essay.

What’s almost as bad, though (or is it worse?) is that he manipulates the quote to gloss over the facts and instead presents a known falsehood as the primary truth.

From the Apache FAQ, emphasis added by me:

Why the name “Apache”?

The name ‘Apache’ was chosen from respect for the Native American Indian tribe of Apache (Indé), well-known for their superior skills in warfare strategy and their inexhaustible endurance. For more information on the Apache Nation, we suggest searching Google, Northernlight, or AllTheWeb.

Secondarily, and more popularly (though incorrectly) accepted, it’s a considered cute name which stuck. Apache is “A PAtCHy server”. It was based on some existing code and a series of “patch files”.

Here’s how Murugan *cough* borrows and interprets the FAQ entry:

Did you ever wonder why one of the most-used pieces of open source software was named Apache? Aside from the obvious nod to the Native American tribe, it is also an acronym for “A PAtCHy server” as it was based on some existing code and a series of “patch files.” This patchiness is an important characteristic of open source software.

Oh, the fun only continues from there: saying “open source software is built […] to evolve organically” — excuse me?

In the fourth paragraph: How exactly is source-code transparency one of the “issues” with open-source software testing? That’s just put out there without a hint of explanation at all. Also, I can only hope that “velocity mismatches” is supposed to mean “version mismatches” — the link provided doesn’t even contain the word “velocity” lowercased.

The last half of the “essay” is virtually-to-literally nothing more than bullet point after bullet point of essentially meaningless numbers, like this:

  • “Native validation framework” automated to cover 4 major components on 4 major platforms
  • […]
  • Thirty-one open source components used for Spike intranet and network operations

The reason for the article — to draw attention to SpikeSource’s new tool for automated PHP testing — is a worthy one, since the tool seems vaild and useful based on purely technical merits, but jeez, this just seems like a heavy-handed way of going about promoting it.


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