From Tue Mar 11 08:17:28 1997
Date: Sun, 9 Mar 1997 10:29:35 -0700
From: Marcia & Barry Press
To: "''" ,
Subject: FW: Article 2B

From: Marcia Press
Sent: Sunday, March 09, 1997 10:22 AM
Cc: ";press"
Subject: Article 2B

It's time to stand back and observe that not only is Article 2B flawed, its entire premise is protectionist and greedy. Consider:

1. Software publishers choose to participate in the free market, in which they can enjoy the volume of sales mass marketing can create.

2. The same publishers explicitly choose to achieve that volume by sales in the free market to individuals, small businesses, and other concerns who lack the resources to take on those publishers in legal forums.

3. Publishers aggressively pursue violations of their software licenses, frequently relying on the legal weight of the SPA to bludgeon suspected offenders without ever stepping foot into court.


4. Those publishers, through the proposed text of Article 2B, want to give the force of law to protections against challenges through the legal system. Such protection would create complete imbalance in the market, freeing publishers to throw even worse trash in the face of consumers than what is now sold.

I'm a small shareware author, and have participated in many beta test programs for tens of publishers over the last 8-10 years. That experience has shown me the variability in the quality of the software designs and test programs in the industry. Most of the software I've tested is, frankly, junk. Worse, most of the software I've tested has been simply shoved out the door to make sales projections rather then held back until the publisher had reasonable confidence it was sound.

I know technically that software developers never find the last bug. I also know two key things that consumers will never understand: 1) software quality has to be designed in, not simply tested in, and 2) there are statistical measures of quality that can be applied during testing to estimate the number of remaining errors. Both are expensive -- quality design takes thought, care, competence, and peer reviews, not just slinging code. Statistical measures of testing progress require enough active testers to create a valid statistical sample, not just the absence of reported problems.

In closing, I agree with the statements that the software industry is looking to self destruct. I put up with the incessant crashes in Netscape Navigator, but I refuse to buy from companies like Word Perfect, Symantec, and others who I believe fail to meet my minimum standards. There's no need to protect these companies from their sins -- the free market and the legal system (flawed or not) should be allowed to operated as intended.

Barry Press