Note: This column represents the opinions
of the writer and as such, is not represented as fact|
Software is funny stuff. Those who write it, particularly those who make a
huge amount of money from it, want us to believe that it should be
treated differently to other commodities.
the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook
are revealed for all to see!
When I buy a car, I don't expect that I'll have to keep returning it to the
garage for constant repairs.
When I buy a book, I don't expect that I'll have to return it to the book shop
every month or two to have spelling mistakes and grammatical errors corrected.
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However, when I buy software, companies such as Microsoft are quite happy
to ship goods which are clearly defective in some way. So defective that
they've now built in mechanisms that are supposed to automatically
apply the numerous fixes as they become available.
Unfortunately, it seems that even Microsoft's "fixup" service is now
Is there any hope that we'll ever see reliable, safe software from Billy's boys?
Now we all know that software is complex stuff -- but so are modern cars.
If our cars were as insecure and prone to breaking down as the
software we use every day we'd be outraged. I'm surprised therefore, that
so many people seem to accept security holes and bugs as just a part of
life when using computer software.
It is tempting to say that writing a perfect non-trivial program is impossible,
and I guess I'd agree. However, I find it rather disingenuous, or perhaps
incredibly naive, for companies such as Microsoft to launch a product with such
bold claims as those which were associated with Windows XP.
Just weeks after its launch, this supposedly "most secure" operating system was
found to have a hole so large that the FBI got involved due to the potential
effects on national security.
Perhaps flaky software with little protection against hackers was okay when
personal computers were a hobby thing -- but today they're the backbone of
virtually every business and government on the planet. The fate of people,
companies and entire nations rest on the quality of software they're using so
the standards must be suitably high.
Aardvark's question of the day:
Would you fly on an airliner built by Microsoft?
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