Bob Charette pointed me to an article in today’s Wall Street Journal about the Microsoft team that processes all those “Report this problem to Microsoft” messages that get sent any time something crashes in Windows. It’s certainly comforting to me that at least someone actually looks at those things. The article goes on to talk about the trials and tribulations of trying to track down bugs in complex software, and in particular how users are often asked to help with the process:
The experience of dealing with a software bug can involve an emotional journey that starts with helpless blind rage and ends with, if not a Kübler-Ross style of acceptance, then at least a little empathy.
The encouraging thing to me about this article is that it brings us another step toward a more general awareness of software quality issues. There are a few things that can happen to make the industry sit up and take notice of this issue: legislation, the attention of the legal profession, and the raising of awareness.
Last week’s announcement of the formation of SAFECode is interpreted by some as an attempt to head off the threat of legislation governing software quality. We have already seen examples of lawyers picking apart software quality as part of their case. And every time software quality is written about in a major non-trade publication, the caused is advanced.