Pure Danger Tech


Quicksand model of code ownership

19 Sep 2007

The quicksand model of code ownership defined:

A model of ownership where once you touch a piece of code you own it forever. Fighting to give up ownership serves only to pull you down further into the pit.

Or as my colleague Tim pointed out from this wiki apparently written by Gunnar Zarncke:

Think of a swamp that has quicksand. Several possibilities exist with regard to how one should provide safety advice to visitiors to that swamp.

  • Tell visitors that they should never ever visit the swamp; because they might encounter quicksand. Go visit the local city park instead; you won’t get hurt there.

  • Say nothing. If someone wants to visit the swamp, they ought to be experts and know where the quicksand is; if they fall in that’s their fault. Tough luck for them

  • Put up warning signs in the swamp, alerting visitors where the quicksand is.

All good suggestions for working in the quicksand model.