LCA: Andrew Tanenbaum on creating reliable systems
Posted Jan 18, 2007 14:27 UTC (Thu) by pphaneuf
In reply to: LCA: Andrew Tanenbaum on creating reliable systems
Parent article: LCA: Andrew Tanenbaum on creating reliable systems
I remember, a very long time ago, Mac OS ("classic") used to be very stable compared to the Windows of the time. And yet, when you looked at the software architecteure, you couldn't help but think this thing ought to fall apart and crash all the time (no memory protection, cooperative multitasking, bounded memory arena, no virtual memory etc). But somehow, it didn't?
Turns out the reason was quite simple. Failures were so spectacular that developers had no choice but to write their software carefully, because when it crashed on them, they had to reboot their entire development environment!
Also, users would tend to notice quickly when their system became less stable, would correlate it to some software they installed recently, then would stop using, or at least would whine about it all the time. So buggy software would just tend not to catch on, because people kicked them off after it crashed their whole system a few times, and they'd tell fellow users to steer clear.
So yes, these are difficult questions. In my opinion, it'd be nice if those automatic recovery features would still notify the user of their action, and try to make the culprit clear, so that there would be some motivation for users to adjust their software usage toward more reliable software, or at least whine on their blogs. ;-)
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