2010-06-27

Buggy software is cheap enough


If software would be made bug-free, that would force prices to be so high that nobody could buy them. How so?

Well, let’s think about what it means to build bug-free software. There actually exists some software, which is built with goal of “zero-defects”. By that, I’m not referring to the constant hype from latest agile method cult who may have some extravagant claims. I mean software where it’s of utmost importance to really have no bugs, no matter the costs. A case where a single bug may mean loss of lives or failure of the whole project. This kind of software is built for space missions, nuclear facilities, and so on. And such a policy on quality is inherently very very expensive.

Imagine if Windows, for example, would have been built with such policy. It’s a really complex and huge piece of software compared to ones normally built with zero-defect policy. But, given the option, would you pay $19,900 of your operating system, if it would never crash? It’s quite a no-brainer that “everybody” would rather pick the same software for $199 and just put up with the few problems they encounter. (The price difference was picked by Stetson-Harrison method. It’s a guess to illustrate the point. The difference could be actually lot worse for niche market software which isn’t aimed for mass market.)

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