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THE SOFTWARE CONSPIRACY by Mark Minasi

THE SOFTWARE CONSPIRACY

What You Don't Know About the Software Industry and How It's Taking Control of Your Life

By Mark Minasi

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-07-134806-9
Publisher: McGraw-Hill

A lucidly written, eminently practical guide to fighting back against the modern scourge of software “bugs.” Ever had your keyboard freeze up in the middle of creating a document? Ever lost a file because your computer mysteriously shut down? Software problems like these are costly, frustrating, and far from rare. Technology journalist Minasi tells us why software is so defective, and what we can do about it. Minasi advocates a “buyer beware” approach: “Companies make software and sell it to the public despite the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of defects in the software, defects that the company is fully aware of when it sells it.” How do these companies get away with introducing defect-filled products into the marketplace? Minasi offers a surprisingly candid answer: people have such abysmally low expectations about software that very few complain. Thus, software companies sell whizbang features, while skimping on quality control. The cultural divisions within software companies also contribute to the problem. Marketing departments wants dazzling features and a short design process, while programmers want time to create superior products. Mostly, marketing wins out. Moreover, the computer industry press rarely criticizes software companies, who provide essential advertising revenues. Minasi isn’t optimistic about the ability of consumers to gain legal redress for software-related problems. He describes the flagrantly anticonsumer licensing agreements contained inside boxes of “shrink-wrapped” software. These licenses are basically one-sided contacts offered to consumers on a “take it or leave it” basis. The software lobby has succeeded brilliantly in fending off efforts to enhance consumer protection. What Minasi proposes is that consumers learn how to take care of themselves. He provides an array of troubleshooting suggestions to combat bugs, as well as practical advice on how to seek technical support. An absorbing, easily understandable, and inspiring book about standing up for your rights in the realm of defective software.