is running an article on the upcoming movie version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a book which, iirc, had more words I didn't know in it by chapter three (though somehow remaining eminently readable) than every other book I'd read for pleasure combined. Here's an interesting quote that I'll reach and tie into hacking.

Douglas Adams was always interested in making a movie, and he wrote the original screenplay. But various obstacles got in the way over the years, a major one being the beloved author's death in 2001. The project was revived with new writers and directors -- in addition to a core group of people who had been working on the film from the beginning with Adams -- and it will debut Friday...

Oh, VERY nice. It got shelved b/c of his death, but revived b/c some schmoe authors thought they should 'improve' on Adams' original design, "core group" nonwithstanding.

Made me start wondering about software authorship, esp at larger co's and with larger projects. Why don't we seem to care who wrote it first? John Carmack (and a young Bill Gates for all that matters seems to have been) is a great programmer; do you really want someone else's hands in there mucking up the engine in ways that break the style of the original?

Now there are a few homebrew changes to the Quake engine, eg, that are an improvement over that age old work. Is that accomplished because you're only able to 'really' understand code written in your own dialect? That is, is it easy enough to take a masterwork (realizing I can barely spell C, so the Quake example might be crap) and make it better, but perhaps the end result doesn't translate to the next person quite as easily? Perhaps one part of great code should be that it first teaches and then, rosetta stone in hand, can be read by anyone who was willing to put in that first investment for understanding.

I know there's a point at which code becomes horrible unweildy, and there is some code out there so bad it's impossible to use and should be trashed. Just thinking 'aloud' on how much of that is because of the style of writing behind the 0s and 1s.