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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.
"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