The Software Conspiracy
I was walking in the bookstore one day and saw this on the title and was
intrigued by the title. After reading the jacket, I decided to buy the book and
was excited about reading it.
I hate buggy software. Everytime Windows 98 locks up on my oldest, everytime Word locks up
when I am writiing, evertime I lose work, I curse the programmers who built the software.
Like most people, I have come to expect a certain amount of bugs in most software. I shouldn't,
and neither should you.
Since this is a book review, I will jump off the soapbox and get to the content. This book is basically
about three parts. The first part talks about the problems of buggy software, how bugs can be introduced,
and why they are tolerated. I somewhat agree with the issues presented; lots of software is buggy
and can be written better. However, bug-free software is extremely difficult, if not impossible to write.
A few of the examples cited, such as the space shuttle, come very close, however there are still some
defects in this software. There is also the problem of proving that something does not exist.
The middle part of the book discusses software licenses and the problems with them. A good portion of
this section is devoted to the UCITA proposed legislation. This is some scary legislation and
everyone should oppose it. Here are a couple links that discuss this law which has already passed
in VA and MD.
I have never written commercial software, but I believe that commercial comapnies are harmed by this law
in the long run as much as comsumers. Already most of the best security software is being written and sold
in Israel rather than the US. A great deal of this is due to silly regulations in the US regarding software.
Of course, the talent of a number of Israel's citizens is greatly responsible as well. I urge you to
visit the links even if you do not read the book and send a letter to your congressperson.
The last part of the book discusses what you can do about buggy software. Mr. Minasi also recommends
that you get involved with Beta programs and try to make a difference with vendors. This is something that
I have given up for the most part because of the buggy software. I like for most of my software to just
work (one reason I use Wordpad more than Word).
Overall, this was an interesting book and worth reading. It definitely can inspire you to do
something about the bugs in your software. The tone of the book, however, often seems to cry "conspiracy"
and it did not read as smooth as I would have liked. Often the author seems to be whining more than
presenting informatin. The message, however is an important one and one that I would recommend to
my Mom who is not very computer literate.