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The Economics of Bugs

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Date: Mar 28, 2010 - 02:47 PM
Wonder why your software has bugs? Well, all software does - and simple economics says that killing the major ones, and leaving the minor, makes your software affordable.

How do you know whether a bug is big or little? Think about who?s going to hit it, and how mad they?ll be when they do. If a user who goes through three levels of menus, opens an advanced configuration window, checks three checkboxes, and hits the ?A? key gets a weird error message for his trouble, that?s a little bug. It?s buried deep, and when the user hits it, he says ?huh,? clicks a button, and then goes on his merry way. If your program crashes on launch for a common setup, though, that?s a big bug. Lots of people will hit it, and they will all be pissed.
Game-killing bugs? Gotta fix. Other stuff? Maybe not so much. Next time you hit an "unusual" bug, sure, send a bug report to the company, but remember, it may simply cost them more than it's worth to fix it.



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