The articles and essays presented below should be required reading for anyone practicing software engineering.
The Rise of “Worse Is Better” – This essay should be required reading for every student of electrical engineering or computer science. The underlying argument of this essay is fundamental to computer hardware and software engineering and those who have not thought through this carefully are missing a critical aspect of their engineering education. See also the larger article of which this essay is a part and some of the better commentary on this topic, here, here, and here. The Wikipedia article on this article is worth scanning for links to more interesting material. There is a backup copy of just the “Worse is Better” essay here and there are more unrelated but excellent technical docs on the same site.