Software projects are notorious for their problems - time and budget overruns, bugs and feature creep. In Dreaming in Code
Scott Rosenberg describes the early days of development of Chandler
by the OSAF
. This was developed as an open source program, but with substantial funding, so one might think it could avoid the usual problems of software development. But it seems nothing is immune, and problems soon arose. In particular, there was little financial pressure to get something out of the door and version 1.0 always seemed to be a couple of years away.
In 2002, when Rosenberg decided to sit in on the development of Chandler, it seemed that it would take about a year to have a viable product. Three years later it was something of a problem to finish a book about a project which was taking so much time. But Rosenberg is a skilled writer, and rather than just describe the day to day discussions of the project he includes plenty of material about the history of the problems of software development, the proposed solutions, and why these solutions didn't work. The book is aimed at a non-specialist readership, and will be of interest to anyone who wants to find out why writing software is such a problem.