A week or so ago we were reporting the spat between software giant Oracle and security firm Red Database Security, over what constitutes a serious bug. Oracle said that it prioritises bug fixing according to the severity of the flaw, but RDS charged that three flaws it rated as high risk had remained unfixed for three years.
It seems to Sneak that the root of this dispute lies in the lack of a common scale for measuring the magnitude of flaws. There is no Richter Scale for software errors, and clearly there should be.
Sneak feels that if any firm is to take the lead in defining the limits of error severity, it should be Microsoft, which clearly knows a thing or three about bugs. And the measure should be named the Wilson scale, in honour of Chris Wilson, lead program manager for Internet Explorer, and his ability to pin down bugs in terms that really matter. While explaining why the upcoming IE 7 won’t meet all W3C specs in his blog, he inadvertently defined the top end of the Wilson Scale: “I believe we are doing a much better service to web developers out there by fixing our known bang-your-head-on-the-desk bugs first.”
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