Experimental software should not be deadly

A few days ago, Apple released a beta version of their Safari web browser for Microsoft Windows. Within hours, hackers had found major security flaws and forced Apple to quickly release a fixed version.

The Apple apologists said, “that’s the risk of using beta software”.

I say there is no excuse for such a serious flaw. If the security flaws are so great that hackers discover them in a matter of hours, then Apple has not properly designed and tested the software.

Consider the following analogy. Suppose I invent a new recipe and cook it for some guests. If the recipe is a failure, the food might be inedible. But if I serve spoiled food that makes my guests sick, I cannot simply blame the experimental recipe.

Medicine starts by teaching, “Do no harm”. That’s a good rule for computers, too.

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2 Comments on “Experimental software should not be deadly”

  1. bcj. Says:

    Why don’t software companies hire the hackers to hack their BETA software so they can fill the gaps before the hackers can hack it.

    Or would the hackers consider that “selling out”?

    While I’m at it, how much wood could a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood?

    bcj.

  2. Ennis Says:

    Hmmmm … I actually installed a copy of Safari (I like the privacy option). I should go back and see whether I have the one with the bugs fixed …


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