It is good to see Oracle's chief security officer, Mary-Ann Davidson, admit that the IT industry's biggest challenge is software quality. With users needing masses of patches to manage, the industry is at the bottom of the curve of software quality, she agreed.

Software development must be elevated to the status of a profession, said Davidson. There is no scope for creativity; coding practices and procedures need to be repeatable; programmers and software companies must be held accountable for their workmanship.

IT is one of the few industries where customers put up with poor quality. But will the influence of prominent figures like Davidson truly change the nature of the software business? With IT firms focused on delivering more and more shareholder value, it is hard to see how they will invest in changing commercial software developers and product teams to focus on quality.

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This was first published in October 2005

 

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