The Design of Software (CLOSED)

A public forum for discussing the design of software, from the user interface to the code architecture. Now closed.

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Space shuttle software: perfect... +1

Heh. I have read a few threads / posts here re: perfection of space shuttle software and how we as developers should aspire to its lofty perfection in terms of engineering, bug-freedom and quality.

Arguments of budget, limit in scope, well-defined specifications and lack of "real-world" pressures notwithstanding, it's encouraging to read the following:

http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?storyID=2006-11-06T191457Z_01_N06275670_RTRUKOC_0_US-SPACE-SHUTTLE.xml

The article says "shuttle's computers", so I am not sure if it's purely hardware or in fact software-related, but it still provides a refreshing contrast to http://www.fastcompany.com/online/06/writestuff.html

I hold to the notion that if a human is involved, anywhere, that it won't be perfect...
Aaron DC Send private email
Monday, November 06, 2006
 
 
I am not sure if I could do it better, although 420 KLOC from a team of 260 isn't that much.
Andrei Send private email
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
 
 
TheDavid
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
 
 
260 developers spending 20 years on the same program, with exact specs spelled out before hand.. not saying it's not impressive, but only having 1 customer sure must help..

Friday, November 10, 2006
 
 
"Why did the raccoon cross the road?
 To show the Possum it COULD be done!"

I think the Shuttle software is just one datapoint that shows that Life-Safety software IS possible. 

I'm not saying it's the ONLY datapoint, or even that it's a particularly GOOD datapoint.  And even then, there may be 'slight' systems bugs that require a manual work-around.  But at least they're KNOWN to be an issue.
AllanL5
Sunday, November 12, 2006
 
 
I've always liked the Space Shuttle software story as an explanation for imperfect software, ie:

Customer: Your software has bugs, why can't it be bug free?

Me: Software can be bug-free (provides link), here's what it costs. You can't afford it.
AndrewR
Monday, November 13, 2006
 
 
I've told many people about the Fast Company article and what I took away first from it was the concept that there really are no software bugs, only bugs in the processes and organizations that produced the software.
Larry Gadallah Send private email
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
 
 

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