Wednesday, July 10, 2002

What people want

Scott Johnson says that software has too many bugs, that people want more reliable software. But do they? We all say we want bug-free software, but our behavior is generally inconsistent with this belief.

Engineering is about trade-offs. Software engineers constantly adjust to conflicting priorities:

People say they hate bugs, but in reality they'd rather have the software now, thank you very much, If one company ships ground-breaking but buggy software today, and their competitor decides to spend a few more months testing, it is quite possible that the competitor can take forever to finish testing -- they'll never catch up, (Johnson also complains of feature bloat. But Joel Spolsky points out that, while people generally only use a few features, everyone uses different features. If you try to get by with fewer features, you start leaving out things like Word Count and end up annoying everybody.)