Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Software Engineering Disasters

I was reading Richard Bejtlich's blog piece on engineering disasters the other day and I started thinking about software engineering disasters. And by disasters I'm not thinking of things that were commercial flops, but rather things that were highly unreliable.

Risks Digest is chock-full of stories of software failures but I'm a little more interested in regular commercial software that is/was a complete failure. Things that simply never worked as desired, crashed more often than you could count, corrupted your data more often than you thought was possible, etc.

With that in mind my two top mentions for this category are:
Windows ME I don't think needs a lot of introduction. The Wikipedia article does a good job of explaining why PCWorld called it the 4th worst tech product of all time.

Relatively high on my list, and a friend of mine's, is Legato Networker. Networker is a system backup program that once rivaled Veritas Backup software in the enterprise but has since shrunk. The thing I remember most about Networker was its main catalog daemon that seemed to crash pretty much every chance it got, and in doing so would completely corrupt the backup catalog forcing you to restore a previous version form tape. It got so bad we started calling the daemon the "Catalog Corruption Daemon" since that seemed to be its sole purpose in life.

I'd be interested to see what other pieces of truly abysmal pieces of software we can come up with that simply never worked as promised.

1 comment:

vipin said...

gr8 stuff thanks for sharing ur knowledge