"Software Carpentry was originally a competition to design new software tools, not a training course. The fact that you didn't know that tells you how well it worked."
When I read this in a recent post on Greg Wilson's blog, I took it as a challenge. I actually do remember the competition, although looking at the dates it was long over by the time I found it.
I believe it did have impact; in fact, I still occasionally use one of the tools it produced, so Greg's comment got me thinking: what happened to the other competition entries?
Working out what happened will need a bit of digging, as most of the relevant information is now only available on the Internet Archive. It certainly seems that by November 2008 the domain name had been allowed to lapse and had been replaced with a holding page by the registrar.
There were four categories in the competition, each representing a category of tool that the organisers thought could be improved:
- SC Build: a build tool to replace make
- SC Conf: a configuration management tool to replace autoconf and automake
- SC Track: a bug tracking tool
- SC Test: an easy to use testing framework
I'm hoping to be able to show that this work had a lot more impact than Greg is admitting here. I'll keep you posted on what I find!