Nathan Myhrvold on software defects. It’s all the user’s fault, apparently.
“The classic dilemma in software is that people continually want more and more and more stuff,” says Nathan Myhrvold, former chief technology officer of Microsoft. Unfortunately, he notes, the constant demand for novelty means that software is always “in the bleeding-edge phase,” when products are inherently less reliable. In 1983, he says, Microsoft Word had only 27,000 lines of code. “Trouble is, it didn’t do very much” — which customers today wouldn’t accept. If Microsoft had not kept pumping up Word with new features, the product would no longer exist. ”Users are tremendously non-self-aware,” Myhrvold adds. At Microsoft, he says, corporate customers often demanded that the company simultaneously add new features and stop adding new features. “Literally, I’ve heard it in a single breath, a single sentence. ‘We’re not sure why we should upgrade to this new release — it has all this stuff we don’t want — and when are you going to put in these three things?’ And you say, ‘Whaaat?'” Myhrvold’s sardonic summary: “Software sucks because users demand it to.”[Source.]