why does it take so long to get software finished
I worked in control firmware and systems middleware OSes for chemical processing equipment (and related control systems). None of the super fancy, huge plants; more single room sized processing pipelines for R D uses. That said, the bigger chambers were like 0. 2m^3 and operated at 2500PSI @ 100C, so you d definitely know if one catastrophically failed. We didn t necessarily develop a lot of process in-house, because our senior engineers had backgrounds with Boeing and or NASA, which both had extensive ideas about how to design reliable systems. If I were summarizing, there s only really two points that cover about 90% of what you need to do for high assurance software:
1. Realize almost all bugs are because of politics and economics, not technological or engineering faults per se.
That is, we make choices about how we set up our culture and corporate system which incentivizes people to create and hide bugs, while also failing to incentivize others to help fix that bug. The first step in combating bugs must be to change the fundamental incentives which create them. In particular, a focus on the success or failure of a team as a whole. Development is a communal activity, and the entire team either succeeds or fails as a unit. Someone else committed a bug (and it got merged all the way to deployment! ) that brought down the system? It s because you didn t provide the necessary support, teamwork, and help with engineering your peer needed to succeed. What can you do to help them succeed next time? After all, everyone is human and makes mistakes.
What s important is that the people are interlocked in layers, where one person can catch another s mistake (without punishing the person who made a mistake, because that just incentivizes them to hide them! ) and help fix it before the code reaches client machines. Successes may be individual, but failure is always the system s fault, never an individuals. 2. Almost all technical bugs, in any field, are because of leaky abstractions and implicit assumptions. From abstract ones like mathematics to physical ones like carpentry. Be explicit. About every possible detail. And if you think you re being too explicit, you probably forgot 80% of the cases. Ever see the average house blueprint? Puts software engineering design to shame, easily. If you want to build something that runs as reliably as a highly tuned, expertly designed engine, you can t start with anything less than as detailed of a specification as they use.
Be explicit. Once you get to the point where you re working in genuine engineering teams rather than as individual engineers on a team and you have explicit, detailed specifications, the technologies to actually convert that reliably in to software that runs stably are pretty straight-forward. The reason we don t see this all the time is simply that it s expensive: the politics require a lot of redundancy of time spent (eg, code has to be read several times by several people); the explicitness requires a lot more upfront planning and effort in documentation, which requires more time invested per unit of actual coding; etc.
Of course, much like we have building codes for houses and larger structures, I think it s perfectly fair to expect minimal standards from software engineers. (Especially now that, eg, IoT botnets are DoSing things. ) Media upload failed. You can try again to add the media or go ahead and post the answer Media upload failed. You can try again to add the media or go ahead and post the question Uploaded image is less than minimum required 320x240 pixels size. Sorry, file format is not supported. You can only upload image with size less than 5 MB. You can only upload video with size less than 60 MB. Go ahead and post your answer. Uploaded video will be live after processing. Go ahead and post your question. Uploaded video will be live after processing. Sending request. Uploading.
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