A "known bug" is still a bug

A "known bug" is still a bug

Yesterday, I came across two known bugs. Two bugs in a row. Is this a lot? No user will ever see them. Those bugs were in an admin feature used mostly by developers. We have workarounds, but I felt frustration. Why can’t it just work?

I knew why it could not work. It could not work because we had more important bugs and features. It could not work because it was an internal tool. It could not work because there was always something else to do.

Do we care?

What does it tell about the developers? What about product owners? I know, I know we have explanations. I know we have excuses. I know we have priorities and must ignore some minor problems.

Is a “known bug” in any way better than an “unknown bug”? It is still a bug. We admit that we don’t care about that bug. What does it tell our users? Even worse, what does an update say to our users?

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Updates

A few years ago, I met a person who complained that Linux is unstable and full of bugs because there are new updates almost every day. In the opinion of that person, a lot of updates = a lot of bugs.

For non-technical people, updates are annoying. They just want to use their computer, tablet, phone. They don’t care about updates. Updates interrupt their activity. They tried to play a game, not look at the game update screen. They wanted to upload a picture to Instagram, but the app has been restarted a second before they tapped the “Done” button, because of an update.

Known-bug

Are tech users in any way different? What happens when you see a popup which tells you that the OS update is ready to be installed? Do you click the “yes, please restart my computer and make it useless for 40 minutes” button or click “remind me tomorrow” and wonder why there is no “remind me next week” button?

The only time when I wanted to install an update was when the “BlueBorne” bug was disclosed. I wanted to use my smartwatch, but I had to disable Bluetooth because of a security vulnerability. For a year, my watch was just a dumb watch with a fancy interface ;) Apparently, for someone, it was just another “known bug.”


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Bartosz Mikulski
Bartosz Mikulski * data scientist / software engineer * conference speaker * organizer of School of A.I. meetups in Poznań * co-founder of Software Craftsmanship Poznan & Poznan Scala User Group