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WorldTechTribune: What's in a Bug?

Dec 30, 2002, 11:30 (31 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Joseph D. Wagner)

"Many readers have reacted unfavorably to my criticism of Open Source. I'd like to clarify a few points. I never said Open Source was evil; I never said those who support Open Source are evil. In fact, I've never even said I oppose all Open Source. To the contrary, I believe Open Source has its place, a limited place under limited circumstances, but a place nonetheless. My trouble is with the people who want to make all software Open Source, like Richard Stallman, Eric Raymond, and their goons, but that's a different story. In hopes that you might believe that I am not just a mouthpiece of proprietary software development, I want to tell you about my experience in making, or rather attempting to make, Open Source software a better product for the world over...

"So being the nice guy that I am, I posted a bug report on the GNU GCC compiler (Richard Stallman's free-as-in-beer, Open Source compiler, which is the most popular Open Source compiler available) where I described the bug but in much more technical depth. What ensued was a whirlwind of criticism from the GCC development team.

"The most common responses I received were 'Your example source code has numerous other security flaws so we're not going worry about this trivial bug,' 'The bug is too trivial for us to worry about,' 'A workaround exists so we're leaving up to each individual programmer to correct and workaround this bug,' and this one takes the cake, 'Well, technically it's not a bug...'"

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Related Story:
osOpinion: The Coding Compromise: Open Objects(Feb 21, 2001)