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Who is responsible when software 'bugs' result in disaster?

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Who is responsible when software 'bugs' result in disaster? Criterion A: Describing the issue A software bug is actually a mild word for defect, it is safe to say that almost every piece of software will have various defects in it and that everyone is affected by the bugs. The only reason why software companies get away with providing faulty software is because we, the consumer allow them to get away with it. The consequences of these bugs range from dire to mild and can be found in anything containing a form of software from expert systems to wristwatches. One such example is a simple attempt to produce and print out a document using Microsoft Word, Microsoft being a company renowned for software bugs. When typing up the document, the system may crash, its not possible to click in certain places, certain objects may break or the link may break to mention a few. Then when the document is sent to be printed, the printer may not acknowledge that it has been sent, the program may not be compatible with the printer, it may come out differently to how it appeared on the page, paper may run out and software wont support the pause and there are many more. ...read more.


There are few laws protecting us from software bugs and few standards groups, all we the consumers can do is return the product and demand better. Despite many efforts from various companies set up to deal with and identify bugs and faulty software, there has not been much improvement software bugs are as common as colds. The likely reason why these bugs are so common that they do not test the software appropriately. Because they know that they can get away with it and that most people are more interested in features than stability. It is not too much to ask for both, but until we the consumers do something about it nothing will happen. In the past, computer 'bugs' have resulted in dire consequences because the only computers being used where expert systems, due to the fact that they were so expensive, un-versatile and large, few people owned them. So obviously, if they were only used for large projects and things went wrong, the consequences were dire. This has been minimized and software companies should follow the same example with their common software. Criterion C: Analysing the impact of the issue Software bugs have not only commonly annoyed but ruined and ended the lives of millions. ...read more.


Another solution would be to have a standards group, like there is with many electronics and cars. The software will have to pass certain strict regulations and requirements and if they don't; they go back to the manufacturer to be repaired. This is another effective solution but the problem being seeking funds and implementing this standards group. Primarily, the radical "revolution" idea could be adopted, through protests, advertising and spreading the word because it is true that people don't really know that they can get better quality merchandise. But if this had little or no effect, then the standards group would be implemented, a tax could be required which the companies paid to have their own products tested or they could be sent the bill directly for each testing. Either solution is effective, but the 'revolution' idea would probably be cheaper and more easily implemented. Criterion E: Selecting and using sources - Mark Minasi: "The software conspiracy" 10/6/02 http://www.softwareconspiracy.com, (12/3/02) - Neil Gross, Marcia Stepanek, John Carey and Otis Port: "Software hell (int'l edition) 6/12/99 http://www.businessweek.com/1999/99_49/b6358015.html (5/2/02) - Mark Kuharich: "WHAT, ME WORRK2K?" http://www.softwareview.com/thesof37.htm (5/2/02) - Robert Lemos: "Group to set bug reporting standards" 22/2/02 http://news.zdnet.co.uk/story/0,,t269-s2104841,00.html (12/3/02) - Staff: "Software bugs leave Microsoft legally vulnerable" 1/7/02 http://macobserver.com/article/2002/07/01.8.shtml 4/10/02 [M1]Better in Crit B? ...read more.

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