• David Moore

The bane of those fighting for software quality...

A post came through my email today about the Australia COVIDsafe app. See image below...


I cannot begin to tell you how angry this makes me (as a software testing and computing professional generally).


The phrase "But refutes some Bluetooth bugs witnessed" is highly insulting to us all.


There's an old joke about software development and testing which goes something like this:


A software developer and a software tester were in a car together.

The car starts to descend a very steep and dangerous road.

The car's brakes fail and it careens out of control and crashes at the bottom of the hill.

Both emerge from the wreckage relatively OK.


The software tester emerges shouting "Did you see that? Oh my God, what an enormous crash. I can't believe it."


The software developer looks at him and says "Yeah, but can you reproduce it? I can't fix it if you can't reproduce it. Let's go back to the top of the hill..."


This joke was born out of a very frequent and familiar frustration experienced by those of us trying to make things better and prevent problems.


For no good reason, other than laziness, facts...things actual people are paid to experience and report... are denied, ignored and actively suppressed.


I had a career being paid big money to find bugs and problems with the sole purpose of telling the developers about them BEFORE it caused a problem or got released to customers or...whatever.


Yet I was routinely and regularly ignored in preference to pushing something out the door when the deadline arrived.


This is NOT the exception to the rule, it is how it is done pretty much all the time.


You know all those updates your gadgets do the first time you turn them on...and every so often thereafter? Yeah, that and then some!


We are not talking about Aliens here folks.


We are talking about an app that is supposed to be about saving lives.


It could be argued, to a lesser degree, that this app is a safety critical system. After all, it is supposed to be saving lives? Right?


Surely, SURELY, you would want to take every report of a problem with it seriously?!!


Unless of course that's not really the purpose of the app.


Yet other, bigger and more expensive, safety critical systems have experienced exactly the same levels of denial and laziness.


So why should we expect our Government's COVIDsafe app to be any better?


Both Space Shuttle disasters were caused by people ignoring facts coming from concerned experts.


Planes have crashed and keep crashing, people get irradiated, rockets blow up, missiles get fired, space telescope mirrors get polished incorrectly, Pearl Harbour, 911 and on and on it goes.


There's a myriad of software design issues and bugs that have had dire consequences.


Here's a list of some of the biggest:


https://royal.pingdom.com/10-historical-software-bugs-with-extreme-consequences/


https://www.computerworld.com/article/2515483/epic-failures-11-infamous-software-bugs.html


...and there are many, many, MANY more.


I can bet with all my heart that in each of these cases there was someone in the background, doing the hard work, whose warnings about these things happening was ignored.


So, for the love of Mike software developers, LISTEN TO US!!!


We aren't making this up. We never have and we never will.


Just because you didn't see it and can't be bothered looking at what is in front of your face, that doesn't mean it isn't real.


David


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