Wednesday, July 10, 2002
MarkBernstein.org
 

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.)