Four Year Old Bugs

How long can a bug in your software go unnoticed? As I discovered with 10C earlier today, the answer can be measured in years. The problem has been solved by replacing 9 incorrect characters with 5 correct ones, but the fact that the issue could exist for so long in a piece of software that I use every single day is disappointing. Fortunately this bug was little more than a CPU-sapping SQL query that returned some inaccurate statistics that few people look at. It could have been much worse.


Over the years I've accepted that the code I write is far from perfect. There are certain goals that I am for, such as ensuring resources are carefully used and that operations finish in milliseconds rather than full seconds, but people are bound to make mistakes from time to time. One of the many things that I truly like about writing software is that fixes can usually be introduced fairly quickly, and often without anybody's knowledge. People just see that things work, and that's the way it should be.

Unfortunately not everyone can be this lucky.