[TenTec] Re: Jupiter firmware problems...NOT! (SO!... )

Robert & Linda McGraw K4TAX RMcGraw@Blomand.Net
Mon, 02 Sep 2002 20:32:11 -0500

  ----- Original Message -----=20
  From: Howard smith=20
  To: Robert & Linda McGraw K4TAX ; tentec@contesting.com=20
  Sent: Monday, September 02, 2002 6:06 PM
  Subject: Re: [TenTec] Re: Jupiter firmware problems...NOT! (SO!... )

  Hi Bob,
  I want to disagree with what you said in a recent post:

    "I'd agree. I recall loading and running Windows 1.01 and all the =
    that followed. Just recently I've changed to Windows XP from ME from =
    Still have bugs that I recall were in V 3.1. Also use NT on our =
    servers. More bugs. Just the nature of software in my opinion."

  I don't really think this is the nature of all software.  I think it =
is the nature of Windows software.  Here are a couple of examples the I =
know of which have well written, reliable software sets.

  The Engine Control Modules (ECM) used by all of the auto makers are =
all microprocessor based, and their software does not appear to have the =
magnitude of bugs that windows software does.  If they did, the highways =
would be littered with the pistons, rods, etc, that came out of the =
engines when the software failed.

  Oh, I see your point.  Look at it this way, the ECM has sensor input =
from say 15 to 25 sensors.  Always the same 15 to 25.  Add a human =
intervention to the chain and you'd see bugs.  The sensors are known =
variables with set limits.  The human input..........well.  A different =

  The second example is the software that is used on the shuttle =
missions.  That software has a documented error rate that is something =
less than 5 bugs per 1 million lines of source code.  I think the big =
difference here is the fact that the software engineers meet with the =
astronauts to design the software.  Everybody there seems to know that a =
software bug could mean that some of the people in the meeting may not =
be returning from the mission.  That is a rather large incentive to get =
it right the first (and only!) time.

  It's been suggested that Tentec offer updates and enhancement for say =
$20 to $50 per release.  Wonder if NASA astronauts would want to ride on =
a $50 update.  I realize the systems are vastly different and more =
complex in the case with NASA, but the principle is the same.

  My point is that software does not have to be done poorly.  It can be =
done so it is reliable.  I have never understood why the Information =
Technology community has not taken Microsoft to task over the quality =
issue.  The IT people are the ones who suffer the loss of productivity =
as they are always tracking down some new bug.

  You are correct in that software does not have to be done poorly.  As =
to Microsoft, business wise, it's a feature vs time vs cost issue.  It's =
a triangle any way you strech it.   It can be done so that it is =
reliable but again I enlist the 6 month rule.  Be first and take your =
chances.  Wait 6 mos and you get a reasonably solid package.

  Howard Smith, WA9AXQ

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