Re: [Fwd: Re: Wikipedia criticism about root]

From: Federico Carminati <>
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2006 09:52:44 +0200

Thanks Bertrand for this,

      I wanted to stay out of this argument. We had a lot of this inside CERN, and, as you correctly point out, its main feature was sterility. There is one thing however that I would like to correct.  From some of the postings, particularly the one you replied to, it seems that ROOT has been "imposed" by the establishment and that all dissent and opposition is now silenced. This is a funny revision of history. Perhaps not many people outside CERN know this, but at some point ROOT development and adoption was forbidden by CERN management with a very formal document. ROOT authors have shown an exceptional endurance and motivation to continue develop their product in the face of an official and formal ban from the establishment, personal attacks and more (much more that I am not going to write into an email)!. ROOT came into the game as an underdog, its development unsupported and its adoption discouraged.

   It is perhaps the best tribute to ROOT that it has become THE reference application for HEP worldwide. Is it perfect? Look around you and tell me how many perfect software products you see. But it does the job jolly well and the ROOT team has maintained all its enthusiasm and dedication to work with ROOT users to meet their requirements.

   It is perhaps the best tribute to CERN management that ROOT is now fully supported and it has become the mainstay of LCG software. Could it have been done better? I would be surprised if the answer were no, of course it could have been. But to all those who say "my solution was better, but it was not retained", I would like to point out that they have only two alternative explanations to the present situation. Either they are more clever than us all, but so much more that we did not even understand what they were saying, or they have been silenced. The second explanation may be reassuring for them, but is false, and the ROOT story shows it. A good solution, even confronted with the strongest establishment opposition, at the end prevails. The first answer may well be true, but, as all scientific facts, it needs to be proven, and hitherto it has not been.


Federico Carminati
1211 Geneva 23
Tel: +41 22 76 74959
Fax: +41 22 76 79480
Mobile: +41 76 487 4843

On 30 Jun 2006, at 08:59, Bertrand Bellenot wrote:

> Hi,
> Interesting to see that some people have quite some time to go into
> this
> kind of endless discussion.
> It is like the war between Fortran, C/C++, C#, Java... or between
> Linux,
> Windows, and MacOS.
> Everyone has its own taste, its own point of view. So what ?
> Coming from industry, I can tell that you should be happy to be able
> (more or less) to do your job (I mean physics) with software designed
> for it. By experience, I can say that it is not always (well, almost
> never) the case...
> I spent quite a few years fighting to justify software implementation
> choices with people who don't know the difference between Visual Basic
> and C++, and I'm quite disappointed to see this kind of sterile
> polemic
> here :-(
> Just my humble (and personal) opinion.
> Cheers,
> Bertrand.
> P.S. I will not enter this discussion, but I really had to comment on
> it.
> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> [] On Behalf Of Andy Buckley
> Sent: Thursday, June 29, 2006 11:58 PM
> To: Julius Hrivnac
> Cc: cstrato; roottalk (Mailing list discussing all aspects of the ROOT
> system)
> Subject: Re: [Fwd: Re: [ROOT] Wikipedia criticism about root]
> Julius Hrivnac wrote:
>>> PS. Myself and cstrato seem to have assumed the twin roles of Chief
>>> Arguer here. I think it would be of benefit if others --- including
>>> some of those who've mailed me personally with supportive messages
>>> and the main ROOT developers, who presumably (I hope!) have opinions
>>> on these issues --- can add to the debate. Otherwise this whole
>>> affair is a waste of words... a fact which I suspect is not lost on
>>> the more prominent silent parties ;-)
>> Many people have spend already a lot of time in arguments about Root
>> problems. I certainly did, Guy Barrand did, FreeHEP team did,...
>> People working in LHC experiments (as I do) are very well aware of
>> serious Root problems, but:
>> - don't have time to discuss them because they have to fix them
>> - are discouraged by the fact that no serious discussion about Root
>> alternatives is allowed in LCG/AA (CERN official LHC software
>> project)
> Thanks for the comments. This explanation is entirely in keeping
> with my
> understanding of the situation. Does anyone else have any comments on
> this?
> I'm glad that bug fixes are being fed back into ROOT rather than fixed
> "locally" on a per-user or per-experiment basis. At least I hope
> that's
> what's happening! :) There are certain "bugs", however, like the class
> design, UI etc. that cannot be fixed by outside parties: those will
> require a design and development effort, at least by the core team who
> (by definition) do have the time to work on it.
> Andy
Received on Fri Jun 30 2006 - 09:53:19 MEST

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