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   Re: [xml-dev] The Airplane Example (was Re: [xml-dev] Streaming XML)

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On Fri, 31 Dec 2004, M. David Peterson wrote:

> That and your not going to die if something goes wrong with each
> built-in safety-switch in your test code... Its hard for me to think
> of the implications of failed code compared to implications of a
> failed flight.  Please don't take offense by this as I understand what
> it is you are suggesting but still have a hard time comparing a
> computer crash to a plane crash.

You should subscribe to the Risks Digest. More that a couple of deaths are 
attributable to broken software.

People treat software like it isn't real. Software machines are just as 
real as hardware machines - and often control hardware machines. If 
you are killed by a radiation therapy machine because of broken software - 
you are just as dead as if the cause was broken hardware.

And yes - commercial planes _HAVE_ crashed where one of the proximate 
causes was broken software (accidents are rarely 'one thing' - they are 
usually two or more things in unusual combination): Put American Airlines 
Flight 965 into a search engine.

I'm of the opinion that software is where engineering was about a century 
ago: In demand, unregulated, and open to anyone who wants to call 
themselves a 'programmer', regardless of skill or training. Disasters 
directly traceable to poor 'engineering' by people with neither skill or 
training killed a number of people and laws were passed restricting who 
can legally call themselves an 'engineer'.

By the end of this century, I will be amazed if you will still be able to 
call yourself a 'software engineer/progammer' without a legally mandated 
certification, license and professional standards.

Benjamin Franz

"All right, where is the answer? The battle of wits has begun.
It ends when you click and we both serve pages - and find out who is right,
and who is slashdotted." - David Brandt


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