Eclipse Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, David H Deans, JP Morgenthal

Related Topics: Eclipse

Eclipse: Article

Bill Dudney's Blog: Beware, The Lawyers Are Coming

In my role @ sys-con.com I got to do some very cool stuff.

Bill Dudney's Blog

In my role @ sys-con.com I got to do some very cool stuff. At JavaOne i many times was able to interview smart folks etc. Anyway one of the folks I talked with was Nigel Cheshire of Enerjy. They make cool tools to help you and your team build higher quality software (its very cool check it out). Nigel has a blog over at enerjy.com. I was digging around for some info I'm researching on the GDB chapter I'm writing now.

While looking through what google had to offer for my search. I found this. Interesting in many ways. The lawyers trying to grok software engr. (It would be fun to have a programmers training video on how to interact with a lawyer or 'how to talk to a lawyer if you must' kind of book). I think that the summarization is interesting and in many ways is not far from the mark.

Some of the "attorney's guide to software development" sends a bit of a shiver down my spine though.

"An examination of the source code will usually reveal extra steps 
that are not necessary to the computation of the results, but 
which will record information that relates to actual or potential 
error conditions. The mere existence of this kind of activity
 suggests that the programmers are trying to collect additional 
information in order to resolve problems they have seen, but
have been unable to isolate and fix."

Having been through a bit of lawerying my self I shutter to think of sitting on the witness stand with the opposing council grilling me...

  • Council: 'and did you know there were issues with this code'
  • Dudney: 'um well i guess i don't know there might have been problems'
  • Council: If I might draw the courts attention to exhibit A in which we see the logging statements of a raving lunatic

That just does not appeal to me at all.

What I'm really wondering is how long it will be (or if it ever will be) that software has all the fun taken out of it by lawyers. Agreed that its a pitiful that we as software folks can't get it right with all the book that have been written and all the experience that has been gained. So many failures and still we fail to internalize the 'Mythical Man Month'. But on the other hand not all failures can be blamed on the developers, many of the problems come from the malleability of the requirements and solution.

There is art here, not just science, not just engineering. The thing that scares me about lawyers arriving on the scene is that they would take all the art out of software (well maybe not all but a big chunk). In the areas that lawyers have scored big (suing Ford for the Pinto, building collapses etc). Standards have come in and taken all the freedom away from the builders. Now I'm certainly not arguing that Ford should have gotten away with the Pinto thing. That was evil and I'm glad there are standards for building cars and for buildings. But these things are very mechanical now. Or a lot more mechanical then they were before Ford came up with the Model T. Back in the early days there were so many different cars that it was hard to keep track of them. And sure many of them were grossly unsafe. But there was a lot of room for art. Today Lamborghini makes a beautiful work of art and meets all the safety constraints, but it costs a ton of money (literally, go weigh 200,000 $1 dollar bills).

Today in software we have the variety and art that was present in the early days of the car, and sure a lot of its is nuts and unsafe etc. (the good thing is that very few people have ever died from a website crash). And that is a good thing. But imaging if a lawyer could impose the use of 'industry standards' on us so that our companies don't get sued. What does that look like? Not pretty I'd imagine.

Read the rest of this posting here on Bill Dudney's blog...

More Stories By Bill Dudney

Bill Dudney is Editor-in-Chief of Eclipse Developer's Journal and serves too as JDJ's Eclipse editor. He is a Practice Leader with Virtuas Solutions and has been doing Java development since late 1996 after he downloaded his first copy of the JDK. Prior to Virtuas, Bill worked for InLine Software on the UML bridge that tied UML Models in Rational Rose and later XMI to the InLine suite of tools. Prior to getting hooked on Java he built software on NeXTStep (precursor to Apple's OSX). He has roughly 15 years of distributed software development experience starting at NASA building software to manage the mass properties of the Space Shuttle.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
Machine learning has taken residence at our cities' cores and now we can finally have "smart cities." Cities are a collection of buildings made to provide the structure and safety necessary for people to function, create and survive. Buildings are a pool of ever-changing performance data from large automated systems such as heating and cooling to the people that live and work within them. Through machine learning, buildings can optimize performance, reduce costs, and improve occupant comfort by ...
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Early Bird Registration Discount Expires on August 31, 2018 Conference Registration Link ▸ HERE. Pick from all 200 sessions in all 10 tracks, plus 22 Keynotes & General Sessions! Lunch is served two days. EXPIRES AUGUST 31, 2018. Ticket prices: ($1,295-Aug 31) ($1,495-Oct 31) ($1,995-Nov 12) ($2,500-Walk-in)
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...