Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 7th Mar 2011 23:21 UTC
Legal Well, how about some positive news to end this day? How about annoying the heck out of the Business Software Alliance? There's a new proposal for a directive on consumer rights in the EU, and in it, digital goods - software, online services, and so on - are explicitly defined as goods that are no different than any other good - like bread, watches, or cars. In other words, you would suddenly own the copies of software you buy, effectively declaring the EULA as a worthless piece of paper. Surprise - the BSA is not happy about this.
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RE[3]: Um, I disagree
by ichi on Tue 8th Mar 2011 10:30 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Um, I disagree"
ichi
Member since:
2007-03-06

You are arguing that making developers liable would be counter productive because there's no clear way to determine what application is the culprit of the flaw.

Well... does it happen that often now? And I mean besides public opinion and sensationalist headlines. Does the actual offending app ever have remained unknown?

You get those kind of conflicts in other areas, and those situations are investigated and properly addressed.
No one would object investigating a collapsed building just because it wouldn't be clear if it was the architect fault of if the interior designers might have weakened a structural pillar.

Software shouldn't be different, and as long as it keeps it's status of mystical dark art where bugs are the norm rather than the exception there will be no effort to improve the code quality beyond the minimum reasonable to get the product out of the door with a straight face.

Reply Parent Score: 8

RE[4]: Um, I disagree
by jgagnon on Tue 8th Mar 2011 15:46 in reply to "RE[3]: Um, I disagree"
jgagnon Member since:
2008-06-24

I think that the issue with software is far more complicated, especially considering the program (or app or plugin) that reports the problem may not be the one that caused the problem. When computer systems crash, they often get rebooted pretty quickly and that greatly reduces any "forensic" attempt at figuring out what originally caused the problem.

You can't "reboot" a physical product to fix a physical flaw. If you put a spoon in the same drawer as a knife, it doesn't change the behavior of the spoon, the knife, or the drawer. It might change how you interact with the collection of things but it won't affect the behavior or use of any of the individual things. In the computing world, the drawer is your OS/browser/environment and the knife and spoon are two separate programs. Only in the computing world the knife and spoon both require usage of resources controlled by the drawer and could conflict or fail because of how the other programs use those resources.

The simple fact is that because programs share limited resources and some programs do not cooperate as well as others, things happen for completely unexpected reasons. Just because one program dies because that shared resource is no longer available or is somehow corrupt, doesn't mean that application caused the problem. This sort of thing is common on most platforms.

You could write the "perfect" program that does nothing wrong and reports everything bad it finds (100% error checks everything). With your average user, this program would be blamed for the problems it finds instead of rewarded for being a "good citizen".

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Um, I disagree
by ichi on Tue 8th Mar 2011 19:28 in reply to "RE[4]: Um, I disagree"
ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

It might not be obvious nor trivial, but if you can't trace an error and find it's origin you are either doing it wrong or you are running a POS system.

How many bug reports being actively worked on have you heard of where devs are still scratching their heads months later?

Maybe the day devs become liable for software flaws we could stop seeing companies like HP releasing barely tested hotfixes to fix bugs in the patch that fixed bugs in the previous patch, all this in their pricey enterprise grade applications.
Eventually you get tired of being betatester of apps worth over 100.000€ in licenses running on production systems.

Reply Parent Score: 2