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From your experience are you, or programmers in general, more or less likely to forgive bugs in the software you use? e.g. if you run across a bug in some app (commercial or open source), is your reaction annoyance at incompetence, empathy, or something else (pity)?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Jim G., MichaelT, jwenting, Bart van Ingen Schenau, BЈовић Jun 5 '14 at 8:26

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

depends on the bug –  jozefg Nov 27 '12 at 4:30
@jozefg and the program –  David Peterman Nov 27 '12 at 4:31
... and the vendor resp. whether the software is free or expensive. –  Giorgio Nov 27 '12 at 6:16
Certainly. Especially if I wrote it :) –  Benjol Nov 27 '12 at 7:38
I'd rather say programmers are more understanding, and tend to realise that a lot of people blame on bugs in specific products are actually caused by factors that the program (or its creators) have no control over. –  jwenting Jun 5 '14 at 4:56

4 Answers 4

up vote 21 down vote accepted

Short answer: No! I am not more forgiving!


After 40 years in this business I know what it takes to get things right -- it takes having personal pride in your end-product. And it pisses me off to see sloppy, 'I don't give a f*ck' software being foisted on the general public. And I don't really care if it's open source or proprietary -- if you're going to do your job ... do your job!

You want to see software done right? Look at something like the Django project. This is completely FOSS, and yet it is stable, effective, and documented like almost nothing I have seen before. When a bug is reported ... they actually fix it. (Well, most of the time. :-)

My point is that as programmers we know what should have been done during development / testing / documentation / bug-tracking. I have people (family / friends / people at parties) ask me about random crap that happens to them (or their data) and it makes me angry to realize how uncaring many programmers are about their users.


If you are going to code for your own enjoyment, great! But if you are going to unleash your brilliance on the world, at least have the self respect to do your job as well as you can.

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+1000 if I could. –  John R. Strohm Jun 4 '14 at 17:45

There is a big difference between a bug that comes from a honest mistake and a bug that comes from lazy, sloppy or incompetent coding.

The former usually occurs as a result of odd data, or simply some function or situation that the developer didn't think of. You will often see the developer be quite helpful as a result and be willing to receive a bug report.

The later is much more annoying because you know it's the sort of bug that you would not tolerate. There are usually lots of them and the attitude of the developer can range from simply not caring through to hostile. For example, in one case where I reported a bug (design flaw) and presented a solution, I was told "thats the way it works and it would not be fixed". Needless to say, I dropped the product.

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If you're asking just about how we feel about bugs, then this question is highly subjective. Some may consider bugs a big deal while others learn to deal with them.

But in reality, it really depends on the software and the bug, but mainly the software. Some software, like use-once scripts, that the fault tolerance of doesn't really matter as long as it works. But there is software that needs to be almost bug proof, take medical software.

So the answer is that it really depends on the total situation, not all software is the same and neither are their bugs.

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I remember the talk in my undergrad:

  1. Code for fun: can be right
  2. Code for school: should be right
  3. Code for business: must be right

So depending on your purpose. If it is 3, it must be right, no argue.

But then it is another question: what happened when you have code that you know you haven't double-checked and you haven't committed to the repo? Would mistakes in those code considered bugs?

I learned it the hard way that basically everything you typed should be right right away. The more you have to make changes and adjustment, the more they consider how incompetent you are. And trust me, management does just that to consider who the good developers are, so be careful with everything you typed (not just things you committed to the repo)

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