We are all beta-tester… Still.

I firmly disagree with  David Pogue’s Scientific American column dating back to November, 2014 where the journalist wrote:

 Part of our disgruntlement at being served flawed software probably stems from our conception of software itself—as something that is, in fact, finishable. Software used to come in boxes, bearing version numbers. We understood each as a milestone—a program frozen in stone.

But nowadays software is a living, constantly evolving entity. Consider phone apps: nobody seems to mind that new versions pour out constantly, sometimes many times a year. Or Web sites: they’re software, too, and they’re perpetually changing.

Maybe that’s why Adobe no longer produces boxed, numbered versions of Photoshop; instead the only way to get Photoshop is to subscribe to its steady evolution all year long.

Maybe it’s time to stop thinking about traditional programs any differently. Maybe we should get rid of frozen, numbered editions, much as Adobe has done.

That wouldn’t eliminate the frustration of bugginess, but at least we would comprehend software’s true nature: a product that is never finished.

The fact that software is an ever-evolving product (and not – as we in the EU say, a “copyrighted work”) doesn’t imply that it is fair to put on the market  a piece of crap, telling peopole that “we’ll clean the toilet with the next version”. Because in the meantime, the stink… stinks.

 

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