Stop Calling them ‘Bugs’

Stop Calling them ‘Bugs’

Let's name things the right way

According to Wikipedia:

A software bug is an error, flaw or fault in a computer program or system that causes it to produce an incorrect or unexpected result, or to behave in unintended ways. The process of finding and fixing bugs is termed "debugging" and often uses formal techniques or tools to pinpoint bugs, and since the 1950s, some computer systems have been designed to also deter, detect or auto-correct various computer bugs during operations.

first bug.jpg

The Past

There are many historical references to the word Bug. Thomas Edison used it even before the first electrical computer.

During computing early days on Mark III, the large computing facilities were a source of heat, therefore attracting real bugs like moths.

Computer pioneer Grace Hopper coined the term while looking for a system malfunction.


The present

70 years after, datacenters are very clean facilities (leaving no space for people or insects). Even our home computers are almost free from malfunction caused by real bugs.

We still name our software glitches as bugs instead of faults and this is keeping as from confronting with real problems, real defects and our own responsibilities.

Software Quality process is under our control.

It is our responsibility to deliver quality products.

The term Bug sounds like an excuse out of our scope infecting our systems. It is not.


The Future

Language is continuing evolving. We recently got rid of the master word on our GIT repos.

To embrace the future and our own responsibilities, we need to be very careful with names, not only with our classes, methods and variables but also with our artifacts.

  • We don't need to debug software anymore. Find the root fault (caused by ourselves or previous developers), embrace the problem, write an automated test, and fix it. Easy as that. 🐞

  • We need no bug trackers. We just need to care for incidents, and not all incidents are faults. Surprisingly, many of them are related to misunderstandings, lack of definition, ambiguities etc. 📋

  • We don't want to fix all software faults. A good deal of mature software have known bugs. Now called known defects. ✔️

Let's start by calling things by their name.

Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it.

Donald Knuth

Part of the objective of this series of articles is to generate spaces for debate and discussion on software design.

We look forward to comments and suggestions on this article.