an infinite number of small reversible steps
Stefano Mazzocchi's email overfloweth with quotable wisdom:
'It's exactly like thermodynamics, where a infinite number of small reversible steps is more efficient than a small number of big but not-reversible steps.'
'...good ideas and bad code build communities, the other three combinations do not. This is extremely hard to understand, it's probably the most counter-intuitive thing about open source dynamics.'