Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Bug vs Feature

I recently read this and was appalled. Why would any company intentionally seek out testers who enjoyed "a good debate about whether something is a 'feature' or a 'bug'"? (Neverminding that the OP's final quoted remark didn't actually ever have end quotes. And also never mind why I was looking at that - just keeping my options open, but I'm way too stubborn to quit my current job yet.) What a *total* waste of time. I'd rather have someone on my team whose hobby was counting ceiling tiles. At least that's meaninful. To someone. I would guess.

Much to my chagrin (or in the case of the link, Ohio's), I'm in that situation now, though. I sat in a meeting with person X who claimed that to his/her mind a "bug" is something that takes a little time to fix and a "feature request" is something that takes more time. I'm beginning to wonder where American (in this case) software engineers learn to speak English.

If you're playing along at home, please use your own Google-fu to verify these common definitions as they apply to software:

bug - a software defect

feature request - I'm gonna have to break this down a little. It's evidently not immediately obvious. A feature is a prominent aspect of something. Hmm. Not a very solid definition. Google-fo doesn't really get me much in the way of a meaty definition for "feature request" or "software feature". I guess I'll just try to make up a definition. Clearly a feature isn't a bug, right? So a feature request IMO is a request for a design change. Further, it must be not because of a defect in the software or the design. It's a request for extra originally unintended functionality. E.g. "Please make my blender also function as an AM/FM radio so that I can blend tasty smoothies while I listen to my favorite morning shock jocks."

I'm not even going to touch the "is it a bug or a feature" debate. The only important question there is "what's best for the customers?" and if there's enough data there should be no argument.

So I've put off my screed on (the next links mostly suck - don't bother) DACLs/SACLs/MACLs and also MIC (new in Vista, though the idea's been around for a while) until next time. Unless I get sidetracked again.

Actually, I might get sidetracked. I think I might need to explain threat modeling and even more so the terminology used ("threat", "DREAD rating", &c.). I keep running into "define that term" roadblocks at work. Rather than invest in dead trees, I think I might blog it.

Discussion of threat modelling terminology is requested by the deceptiblogger.
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