Interesting article on “conscientious software”

Read an interesting interview with Ron Goldman on Conscientious Software today. The idea of self-maintaining software which handles the inevitable bugs in code struck a chord with the work that I do.

I work in the Solaris sustaining organisation which means we maintain the current releases, typically by fixing bugs escalated to us by customers. Some bugs are new, some are already known about and some are already fixed in the development release – see OpenSolaris for details 🙂

As you might expect, we don’t have infinite resources so we prioritise this work. In other words, don’t be surprised that there really are bugs in Solaris and we really do know about them and no, we haven’t fixed them yet.

We are painfully aware that most current software isn’t conscientious as the article discusses. I am enormously grateful for the development of tools such as libumem and DTrace but code that’s also able to handle its failings and environment would be welcome too.

Fault Management Architecture is perhaps a step in the right direction though it’s currently more applicable to hardware. A few of us looked at applying Fault trees to software … but it proved very difficult – at least when it came to retro-fitting to existing software designs.


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