Friday, April 01, 2011

Announcing: Unified Theory of Software Defects!

Earlier today, after entering my 460th bug report on a large software project that I’ve been working on at my job, I was suddenly struck by a bolt of inspiration: All software defects are caused by only two possible root causes! Without further ado, I hereby present my Unified Theory of Software Defects:

1. Somewhere, there was a 0 where there should have been a 1.
2. Somewhere, there was a 1 where there should have been a 0.

Yes, that's right... every software defect that has ever occurred can be traced to some combination of these two fundamental causes! Astonishingly simple. Marvelously elegant.

And of course, this theory gives rise to a Unified Corollary of Repairing Software Defects:

Adjust the software such that all 0s and 1s are properly placed.

I fully expect this discovery to revolutionize the craft and profession of software engineering. No, no need to thank me; I’m just glad to have the opportunity to give back to the community in this small way.

(Postscript 1: Developing a universal theory of just how any arbitrary software program can be adjusted “such that all 0s and 1s are properly placed” is left as an exercise for the reader.)

(Postscript 2: Happy April 1st!) :-)

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