[nSLUG] I am reluctant to file any more bugs until those already reported are fixed.

Oliver Doepner odoepner at gmail.com
Mon Jul 20 15:49:57 ADT 2015


Hi Mike,

I don't see how your email relates to Nova Scotia Linux User Group.

You make long-winded sweeping statements about the software industry.
And now?

What kind of conversation are you looking for?

Thanks
Oliver



On Wed, Jul 15, 2015 at 4:23 AM, Michael David Crawford <
mdcrawford at gmail.com> wrote:

> I posted this just now to xcode-users at apple.com and
> cocoa-dev at apple.com; at the end is my mail to Richard Stallman in
> which I point out that Free Software suffers the same problems.
>
>    *********
>
> Please understand that I do not wish to get anyone in trouble.  It is
> common for heads to roll over product defects.  That is not even
> remotely my objective.
>
> To be perfectly clear: this is a widespread, systemic problem in many
> industries but in my own experience and that of many others it is
> particularly bad in the computer industry.
>
> The problem I see is that users pay for features not for quality.
> That's what users believe anyway; it's not hard to convince them
> otherwise but it's uncommon for high-tech products to obtain market
> share because they are good, rather they succeed because they are
> first to market.
>
> I once consulted for Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications because they
> once owned the smartphone market with Windows CE devices but then
> Apple ate their lunch with the iPhone due to Sony Ericsson's poor
> quality.
>
> I have many gripes with Apple's product but this eMail is not the
> place to discuss them.  However I request that Apple's engineers and
> managers read every Radar bug I have ever filed -
> mdcrawford at gmail.com, also from my amcc.com and atimi.com Apple IDs.
>
> I was a Senior Engineer working in the role of "Debug Meister" for
> Apple's Traditional OS Integration team in 1995 and 1996; despite my
> love for my work I requested an internal transfer to PowerBooks
> because I gave up all hope that our bugs would all be fixed.  I was
> offered an internal transfer to Copland but declined it because I had
> the sense that Copland would never ship.
>
> While I was at first hired as a contract Script Monkey for MacTCP
> 1.0.1 in 1989, I was able to get sign-off to debug the test tool
> because, as my Newfie ex-wife would say, "strm_echo was a piece of
> work."
>
> I went on to find a code generation bug in the MPW C compiler; while
> regressing it I found that increasing the number of characters in
> certain source code symbols led MPC C to crash.  To be clear: my
> program didn't crash, MPW C crashed while building my source.
>
> A couple years later I received a developer CD whose MPW release notes
> clearly explained my bug then said "Don't do that".
>
> By then I was with Working Software; it was on the ropes when I hired
> on, and ultimately failed because my predecessor made a piece of work
> out of QuickLetter, sued Working Software for failing to pay his
> ransom but lost, stole the source code then shipped a competing
> products with many of the exact same bugs as QuickLetter had at the
> time he left the company.
>
> In 1993 I wrote data analysis code for a particle physics experiment
> at CERN.  I required seven weeks to come to grip with CERNLIB and its
> associated tools such as PATCHY, sort of like a cross-platform JCL
> only undead exhumed and reanimated.  I required three days to write my
> own patch then four days to run my Monte Carlo simulation that
> calculated the acceptance, or sensitivity of our detector.
>
> Particle physicist require all manner of software but are hardly ever
> to actually obtain any.  Every law of physics other than general
> relativity - gravity - is to be found in CERNLIB yet despite decades
> of wandering its Gordian Labyrinth I have yet to actually find any.
>
> When my own patch was cooked and so ready to serve I asked my
> collaboration's grad students and postdocs to have a look at my
> source.  At the time I was still an undergraduate but had worked in
> the software industry for six years.  They were all stunned at my
> FORTRAN source's eloquence and beauty.
>
> "The reason particle physics software is so hard," I growled angrily,
> "is that YOU PHYSICISTS MAKE IT HARD!"
>
> After Vietnam my father left the Navy, studied for his MSEE at the
> University of Idaho in Moscow then worked as a Civil Service engineer
> at Mare Island Naval Shipyard until he retired at thirty.
>
> He wrote test plans.
>
> Nothing but test plans, by hand on paper with a ball-point pen.
>
> Here's what happens if you don't get your test plans right:
>
>    The Sinking of the USS Gitarro
>    http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/16.52.html#subj2.1
>
> (Actually "Guitarro")
>
> What I usually tell people is that "Someone sunk a submarine at the
> height of the Vietnam War because he didn't read the instructions".
> In reality, someone sunk a submarine because his test plan failed to
> provide the instructions.
>
> There is lots more I could say but I will write up a more compelling
> argument than post it at:
>
>     Solving the Software Problem
>     a Taxonomy of Error
>     http://www.warplife.com/jonathan-swift/books/software-problem/
>
> However I will close with the mail I sent to Richard Stallman just now.
>
> He is quite diligent with his email; in 1990 I had the idea he could
> tell me how to get connected to the Internet.  His reply?  "If you
> don't have a place to just plug in I really don't know."
>
>    **********
>
> Richard,
>
> The ancient Greek play "Lysistrata" portrays some women who put a stop
> to a war by refusing to make love to their men.  This has actually
> been done several times, once recently in south america but I don't
> recall the details.  I would be happy to produce the [needed citation]
> but not just now as my dialup doesn't really work.
>
> The problems I see with poor quality - not just in software but
> hardware as well - are not specific to any one codebase.  It is
> widespread in Free Software, Open Source and proprietary software.
>
> For years I have worked diligently to advise others of ways they can
> fix their code, as well as why they should do so.  My articles, essays
> as well as mailing list and message board posts are quite popular but
> also controversial in that there are many who do not welcome my
> message of quality.
>
> Quite a serious problem is that some of these faults are in systems
> used by law enforcement.  For example some clever fellow escaped from
> prison by sending an email to an employee at his prison.  Again I
> don't recall all the details but would be happy to dig them up.
>
> Similarly innocent people go to jail or even prison because of software
> faults.
>
> My jocular outlook on life frequently leads to my own arrest.  Not the
> last time I was in the slammer but the time just before that, I was
> promptly ordered released on my own recognizance - that is, without
> bail.  Even so I was detained for five more months before my case was
> completely dismissed.  I think the world of the Clark County,
> Washington Sheriff's Deputies but they were unwilling to release me
> until they received my release order themselves, which somehow got
> dropped on the floor.
>
> No doubt you've seen Terry Gilliam's "Brazil".  That's happening in
> real life this days and with increasing frequency and severity.
>
> I could detail the problems I experience but there are so many.  It's
> not just me; consider that Mozilla stored its email in a proprietary,
> compressed database.  I lost my email database when my filesystem
> filled up.  I did report the bug at http://bugzilla.mozilla.org/ but
> when I did so I found many other reports as well as gnashing of teeth
> because that bug had been reported years before but not fixed.
>
> While the Mozilla developers - not just the Mozilla corporation but
> its unpaid volunteers - are among the more-egregious offenders there
> are many others.
>
> Other problems are the introduction of "features" that I and others
> regard as bug, and the deprecation of features that I and others
> depend on for our livelihoods.
>
> I am well aware of the Free Software community's opposition to Apple's
> proprietary code, vendor lock-in and other evildoing but at least at
> one time, Apple Computer produced very high-quality products.
>
> But no more, and not for a long time.
>
> I discuss this in:
>
>    Apple's Deep Insight Into User Interface Design
>    http://www.warplife.com/mdc/essays/jump-the-shark.html
>
> The bug I found in 2012 was trivial to reproduce, however the steps to
> reproduce it are quite obscure.  While I could help Apple fix just
> that one bug by filing a report at http://bugreport.apple.com/ what I
> really want is for Apple to clamp down on all the hookers and blow
> that are readily available within Infinite Loop.
>
> Again: these are widespread problems.  I find examples almost
> everywhere I look.  Free Software is no exception.
>
> However:
>
> My satirical writing and my harsh, confrontive criticism in meatspace
> aren't doing the job.  Recently I attempt gentle diplomacy.  To some
> extent that seems to help, but I'm just one person.
>
> Can you help in any way, or recommend something or someone else who can?
>
> Ever Faithful,
>
> Mike
> --
> Michael David Crawford, Consulting Software Engineer
> mdcrawford at gmail.com
> http://www.warplife.com/mdc/
>
>     While Every Deity hath the Insight to Foretell the Future
>     Even G-d Almighty Himself Possesseth Not the Power to Undo the Past.
> _______________________________________________
> nSLUG mailing list
> nSLUG at nslug.ns.ca
> http://nslug.ns.ca/mailman/listinfo/nslug
>



-- 
Oliver Doepner
http://oliver.doepner.net/
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