Business Week (12/6/99 issue) article on Software Quality 
Author Message
 Business Week (12/6/99 issue) article on Software Quality

( I aplolgize if this ends up being posted twice,
but I am not sure my first posting attempt
succeeded- Mike)

Fellow members of the Ada community:
?
I do not know if any of you have seen the 12/6
issue of Business Week, but it has a
feature article on poor software quality. This
article is specifically focused on the cost to
business/drag on the economy caused by buggy
software. There is a 1-page article on
Watts Humphrey which compares him to Deming and
briefly describes the SEI.
?
I think that it would be a very good idea for the
members of this forum to write Business
Week, or perhaps even get an interview with the
authors of this story (what about it, Mr.
Riehle? Mr. Taft?), to describe the benefits of
Ada. I doubt that the folks at BW know
anything about Ada or how it was designed to help
this problem; I didn't see any mention
of Ada when I scanned this article, but I haven't
read it in depth yet.
?
If the costs of poor quality software are so bad
that BW has noticed and devoted a
feature article to it, perhaps the tide can yet
turn in Ada's favor.
?
- Michael Card
?
--
Lockheed Martin Ocean, Radar and Sensor Systems
Electronics Park, Building 6, Room 201
Syracuse, NY 13221
315-456-3022 Voice?? 315-456-0441 FAX

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Sun, 19 May 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Business Week (12/6/99 issue) article on Software Quality

| ( I aplolgize if this ends up being posted twice,
| but I am not sure my first posting attempt
| succeeded- Mike)
|
| Fellow members of the Ada community:
| ?
| I do not know if any of you have seen the 12/6
| issue of Business Week, but it has a
| feature article on poor software quality. This

Is it this article you are referring to:
http://www.businessweek.com/1999/99_49/b3658015.htm

?
--

         "Det eneste trygge stedet i verden er inne i en fortelling."
                                                      -- Athol Fugard



Sun, 19 May 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Business Week (12/6/99 issue) article on Software Quality

Quote:

>If the costs of poor quality software are so bad
>that BW has noticed and devoted a
>feature article to it, perhaps the tide can yet
>turn in Ada's favor.

>- Michael Card

So, let other software companies write bad software. You use Ada
to write good software, make more money. Why do you want
to tell the competition about something good you found?

ld



Sun, 19 May 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Business Week (12/6/99 issue) article on Software Quality
ld-

My appeal was intended to boost Ada's mindshare in the commercial world,
which IMO benefits all software consumers. Many of us work for software
producers during the day but we all buy products for ourselves too. I for
one would welcome browsers, e-mail tools, operating systems etc. developed
entirely in Ada (or Eiffel) by companies which follow sound software
engineering principles.  For this reason, I would like *everybody* to know
about Ada and what it has to offer.

- Mike

--

Quote:

> Organization: -
> Newsgroups: comp.lang.ada
> Date: 1 Dec 1999 14:33:09 -0800
> Subject: Re: Business Week (12/6/99 issue) article on Software Quality


>> If the costs of poor quality software are so bad
>> that BW has noticed and devoted a
>> feature article to it, perhaps the tide can yet
>> turn in Ada's favor.

>> - Michael Card

> So, let other software companies write bad software. You use Ada
> to write good software, make more money. Why do you want
> to tell the competition about something good you found?

> ld

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Sun, 19 May 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Business Week (12/6/99 issue) article on Software Quality
Preben-

The article you cite is from the on-line version of Business Week
International. The text seems to be mostly the same as the US print version,
but it is missing a "sidebar" (or in this case "top bar") which shows a
timeline of the costliest software failures from January 1998 through
November 1999. There are some real whoppers in the list (billion dollar NASA
satellites lost, commercial satellite losses due to software-induced rocket
failures, system failures at Charles Schwab, etc.). The article on Watts
Humphrey is also missing.

- Mike

--

Quote:

> Organization: ProgramVareVerkstedet
> Newsgroups: comp.lang.ada
> Date: 01 Dec 1999 14:06:00 +0100
> Subject: Re: Business Week (12/6/99 issue) article on Software Quality


> | ( I aplolgize if this ends up being posted twice,
> | but I am not sure my first posting attempt
> | succeeded- Mike)
> |
> | Fellow members of the Ada community:
> | ?
> | I do not know if any of you have seen the 12/6
> | issue of Business Week, but it has a
> | feature article on poor software quality. This

> Is it this article you are referring to:
> http://www.businessweek.com/1999/99_49/b3658015.htm

> ?
> --

> "Det eneste trygge stedet i verden er inne i en fortelling."
> -- Athol Fugard

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Sun, 19 May 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Business Week (12/6/99 issue) article on Software Quality



| So, let other software companies write bad software. You use Ada
| to write good software, make more money. Why do you want
| to tell the competition about something good you found?

Because if I go on a ferry or a plane or in other ways put myself in
the mercy of technology, I would feel much better if I knew that I
wouldn't be injured by buggy code. If I entered a plane and the
captain said were flying the state-of-the-art with C coded software,
I'd get out pretty quick :-)

--

         "Det eneste trygge stedet i verden er inne i en fortelling."
                                                      -- Athol Fugard


Mon, 20 May 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Business Week (12/6/99 issue) article on Software Quality
I was surprised at the BS in the article about how "rapid innovation" is
responsible for defects.  This is a line we've been hearing from makers of
banal, overdone software for decades.  Microsoft constantly tries to make us
agree that their software is so innovative that we simply needed it out the
door so fast that they couldn't spend the time to design it.  In reality,
there are many older Microsoft products I would prefer to use than the new
versions, but they are now unsupported.  Strangely, these products had the
"simplicity" that Microsoft says they're struggling to achieve by
amalgamating and bloating all of their code.  Word 4.0 for the Mac is one of
my favorite examples.

But it is not until the lawsuit that these vendors seem to care about
software quality.  Quality software is truly not that hard to produce, but
like any other product, you have to build the quality into it, and not
expect to repair it as you go.  We have plenty of programming languages now
that make software quality easier to produce, such as Ada and ML, and we
have plenty of methodologies, such as Cleanroom and Extreme Programming,
that fit different cultures and product requirements to help assure quality.

But instead of outrage, home users have been tortured so much that they are
complacent, and they accept the fact that they have no voice.  Large
businesses will lose their voice as well, if we allow UCITA to be adopted by
the states.  Write a letter to your Governor and State Legislatures.  Tell
them that you are a software developer but, as a human being, you do not
want to protect software houses in this manner.  Do this before the option
is taken away from you.

-John



Mon, 20 May 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Business Week (12/6/99 issue) article on Software Quality

Quote:

>| I do not know if any of you have seen the 12/6
>| issue of Business Week, but it has a
>| feature article on poor software quality. This

I have sent the following letter to the editor at Business Week.

-- =================================================================

Software development is the only engineering wannabee that euphemizes its mistakes with the cutsey monicker,
"bug."  The IEEE has suggested a three level designation starting with "mistake/error", that produces a software
"defect" which causes an run-time error.  We are still a long way from an engineering view of software in practice.
Our methods are antiquated, our most commonly used programming languages are characterized by their
brittleness, and our education of software developers is archaic.  There is some hope on the horizon.  An
increasing number of universities are offering graduate programs in software engineering.  Reliability-oriented
programming languages such as Ada and Eiffel are becoming more frequently used for safety-critical software.
Consumers, including corporate software users, are becoming more astute about the kinds of questions they ask
reagarding the quality issue.  Most commercial software developers are so devoted to the financial bottom line,
they focus on forcing their customers to upgrade to marginally useful "neat" features rather than pay attention to
quality.  Many of the larger software publishers think "great" software consists of features reminiscent of  the tail
fins and excess chrome found on U.S. automobiles circa 1958-1975.  Software development for Department of
Defense weapon systems has been the exception.  The bottom line for a missile is life or death.  Engineering
becomes more important than programming.  A pilot engaging air-to-air missile countermeasures would not be
pleased to see a "Blue Screen" message, "Sorry. System Error. Please Reboot."   The Business Week article
mentions the Boeing 777, a product programmed almost entirely in Ada.  This project exemplifies the benefits of
the engineering discipline originally applied in the development of military weapon systems.  The value of Ada in
creating DoD weapon systems is a seldom told story.  If one reads the disclaminer on the back of the envelope in
which commercial software is packaged, they will see that the software publisher is responsible only for the quality
of the media on which the product was delivered.  The product itself is not guaranteed, not warrantable, not
necessarily going to work as  advertised.   What other manufacturer could get away with this?




Sat, 25 May 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Business Week (12/6/99 issue) article on Software Quality


Quote:
> Software development is the only engineering wannabee that
> euphemizes its mistakes with the cutsey monicker, "bug."

Seeing as the first recorded use of this word is by Thomas
Edison, in connectin with work on some electronics, this
seems a dubious claim.

Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.



Sun, 26 May 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Business Week (12/6/99 issue) article on Software Quality


Quote:
> I have sent the following letter to the editor at Business Week.

> -- =================================================================

> Software development is the only engineering wannabee that euphemizes
> its mistakes with the cutsey monicker, "bug."  The IEEE has suggested
> a three level designation starting with "mistake/error", that produces
> a software

As a reader, you loose me right here. This kind of lingusitc revisionism
has throughout history been the exclusive domain of shrills and
crackpots. There is ample proof that changing the word used to describe
something has absolutely no impact on the meaning people give the
concept. To make matters worse, the "improved" term is invariably longer
and more mushy-mouthed.

--
T.E.D.

Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.



Sun, 26 May 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Business Week (12/6/99 issue) article on Software Quality
On Wed, 08 Dec 1999 06:51:31 GMT, Robert Dewar

Quote:



>> Software development is the only engineering wannabee that
>> euphemizes its mistakes with the cutsey monicker, "bug."

>Seeing as the first recorded use of this word is by Thomas
>Edison, in connectin with work on some electronics, this
>seems a dubious claim.

A person I worked for some 15 years ago had been a programmer since
the days of relays for logic circuits. He claimed the word came from
instances of insects preventing the closing of relays and hence the
phrase "a bug in the program". Prehaps not accurate but amusing myth
making none-the-less!
Regards,
Greg Martin.


Sun, 26 May 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Business Week (12/6/99 issue) article on Software Quality

Quote:

> A person I worked for some 15 years ago had been a programmer since
> the days of relays for logic circuits. He claimed the word came from
> instances of insects preventing the closing of relays and hence the
> phrase "a bug in the program". Prehaps not accurate but amusing myth
> making none-the-less!

That incident actually occurred, on September 9, 1947.  The "bug" was
a moth in a relay of the Mark II, which was removed and pasted into
the logbook by Grace Murray Hopper.  There's a photo at
<http://ei.cs.vt.edu/~history/Bug.GIF>.

It's clear from the wording of the log entry, "First actual case of
bug being found", that the term "bug" was already in use.

For more information, see
<http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/jargon/html/entry/bug.html>.

--

San Diego Supercomputer Center           <*>  <http://www.sdsc.edu/~kst>
"Oh my gosh!  You are SO ahead of your time!" -- anon.



Sun, 26 May 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Business Week (12/6/99 issue) article on Software Quality


Quote:


>> Software development is the only engineering wannabee that
>> euphemizes its mistakes with the cutsey monicker, "bug."

>Seeing as the first recorded use of this word is by Thomas
>Edison, in connectin with work on some electronics, this
>seems a dubious claim.

Although this may be historically accurate, contemporary engineering
practice does not encourage the use of "bug."  In fact, Edison, for
all of his genius, was operating at a level of engineering discipline
somewhat parallel to the early days of unstructured programming. Much
of his work was equivalent of what Pressman calls, "exploratory
programming."   I stand by my claim that no responsible engineer, in
any other discipline, would give the excuse that, "The bridge collapsed
because there was a bug," or "The circuit fried because of a bug."  

Granted that some IC manufacturers have adopted this terminology to
account for errors in their own designs, but the fact remains that
these are errors, not bugs.  They originate in 1) incomplete understanding
of the physics, 2) failure to work out the logic correctly, 3) occasional
negligence, 3) excessive haste, or any number of other factors.  

When an automobile gas tank explodes due to a collision with another
car, is that a function of a bug?  Of course not.  

An engineering discipline in its infancy may be able to assign mystical
properties to the mistakes it makes and call them bugs.  As that engineer
becomes more mature, the engineers and engineering management become more
responsible, more precise in their language.  Sometimes we may not know
what error created the defect.  We would want to admit that and go on to
find the error.  Fortunately, this is exactly what good programmers do
about bugs.  Sadly, some major software publishers continue to release
software in which they acknowledge "known bugs," a phrase that has the
effect of minimizing the importance of the defects.  If that software
were released with a list of "known mistakes" one can imagine the
litigation that might ensue.

Richard Riehle



Sun, 26 May 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Business Week (12/6/99 issue) article on Software Quality


Quote:
>As a reader, you loose me right here. This kind of lingusitc revisionism
>has throughout history been the exclusive domain of shrills and
>crackpots.

Don't hold back, Ted.  As one of those "shrills and crackpots," I would
want you to really say what you mean.  Linguistic revisionism, indeed.

Quote:
>There is ample proof that changing the word used to describe
>something has absolutely no impact on the meaning people give the
>concept.

The choice of a word can be quite important to how someone perceives
a product or idea.  Revolutions have been initiated through the
clever selection of the right words.  Advertising is about symbols.
Words are symbols.   The "movers and shakers," in the poem by
Arthur O'Shaugnessy, are the "poets and music makers," people who
often specialize in words.  

In the case of the word "bug" versus "mistake" I believe the correct
choice of word does ultimately make a difference.  Perhaps I am wrong.
A lot of people think so.  On the other hand, I am finding that a lot
of people agree with me.  

Quote:
>To make matters worse, the "improved" term is invariably longer
>and more mushy-mouthed.

Please craft your own response to the Business Week article if you
find mine so odius.  It will do no harm for the magazine to receive
multiple submissions.  The editors may then select from among those
that seem most appropriate.  

Richard Riehle



Sun, 26 May 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Business Week (12/6/99 issue) article on Software Quality


Quote:
>That incident actually occurred, on September 9, 1947.  The "bug" was
>a moth in a relay of the Mark II, which was removed and pasted into
>the logbook by Grace Murray Hopper.  There's a photo at
><http://ei.cs.vt.edu/~history/Bug.GIF>.

>It's clear from the wording of the log entry, "First actual case of
>bug being found", that the term "bug" was already in use.

Excellent example of a "bug" as something that enters your product
from outside.  We find the same kind of "bug" in the form of cosmic
radiation in satellites.  This is a correct use of "bug."  What
programmers usually call a "bug" is a defect due to some mistake.  
That "bug" was created by us through ommission or commission.

Richard Riehle



Sun, 26 May 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 
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