Software and the Maginot Line

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photo via wikipedia. thanks!

This weekend we did some camping, just across the border into France, and very close to part of Maginot Line. Next time I visit that area I’m going to take some time and actually visit a couple of Ouvrages, go inside and see the working railway and the logistics of the thing. It is fascinating engineering and architecture, made all the more impressive by its absolute failure to deliver on its promise.

I normally dislike using military similes and metaphors in business language. It belittles the horror of war. I’m not in the trenches, in the line of fire, or going over the top, luckily. But there was something about the Maginot line that made me think about the enterprise software industry.

I suppose one could use the Maginot metaphor to describe neo-client/server architectures, but I couldn’t help thinking about software maintenance. The assumptions about maintenance made 10 years ago don’t necessarily hold today. While leaders of large software companies crow about their maintenance margins, images of the Maginot line keep coming into my head. 

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