The quality of software should be rated

I recently came across an interesting posting on software quality from Bola Rotibi, principal analyst at Macehiter Ward-Dutton. In the posting Bola draws an analogy between “good enough software” and a one-star hotel. It’s all about managing our expectations, according to Bola:


A one star hotel probably offers adequate and “good enough” services for those on a budget. But this would not be sufficient for five-star luxury seekers. The key, though, is that customers of each know what they are getting for their money and whether it is fit for their purpose. There is a quantifiable means of grading what is delivered and matching that to what is expected.

At the moment commercial software ships with a huge disclaimer which frees the software maker from any legal obligation to build software that “works”. I am not aware of any other industry where a company is allowed to ship shoddy products. I think Bola has a good idea here, in terms of hotel ratings for software. Perhaps we need some kind of standard for “good enough” software and a rating system, which informs buyers what they are getting.



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This may be something of interest - The project's Alitheia Core tool was part funded by the European Commission. Its aim is to assess the quality of open source software. GPL/BSD applications can be interrogated objectively to assess their quality (using different matrices) and the strength of their respective development communities. Such objective assessment is not possible with proprietary software where the concept of 'quality' is purely subjective.

Thanks Tom. Good spot: Alitheia Core does look quite a good idea.