Usually what Joel says is treated like gold by many developers, myself included. In a recent post he berated Om Malik for using a lego metaphor in describing how easy it was for startups to create software while paying homage to Fred Brooks's essay No Silver Bullet: Essence and Accidents of Software Engineering. Joel cleverly adds context to his comments by referencing a Business Week article from the early 1990s that uses the lego analogy with the idea of object oriented programming.
I've listened to Om Malik's podcast and can tell he is no programmer - in fact, I kind of laughed at a podcast on instant messaging where he called file sharing in instant messaging clients unnecessary (something nearly everyone I know from a working angle uses on a daily basis).
But what Om started was a good conversation which inspired Wesner Moise in his rebuttal to Joel asserting that Fred Brooks was as astute in his essay. Software development has advanced, Moise seems to be saying, well beyond what it was in the days of Brooks.
The desert for this travelling conversation was this story on programming Atari 2600 games. That sounds like tough work indeed.
Well, I'm off to play with regular bullets and legos.
Update: Some interesting comments from Phil Haack on the subject.