Bug vs. misfeature (was: RE: Unicode Cyrillic GHE DE PE TE in Serbian)

From: Doug Ewell (dewell@compuserve.com)
Date: Tue Jan 11 2000 - 10:43:57 EST


Marco Cimarosti wrote:

> But, no, this case cannot qualify as a bug because, AFAIK, MS Word et
> al. do not distinguish "italic" from "slanted": the two properties are
> considered one and the same thing, deliberately.

Ah, the old "bug" versus "misfeature" argument. I have fought this
battle many times from the programmer's perspective. There is a
difference, as Marco points out, between a bug (the program does
something unintended and wrong) and a design flaw or "misfeature"
(the program works as designed, but does not meet one or more users'
expectations). There are admittedly times when the line is blurry.

Unfortunately, many non-programmers miss the fine distinction and think
I am merely trying to steer them away from the dreaded "B" word.

I still cringe when I hear the term "millennium bug," because it was
neither: the problem existed not because of the change in millennium
but because of the change in century, or more correctly, the change from
"99" to "00"; and it was a design flaw, not a bug, because such programs
were not specifically designed to work after 1999 (as dumb as that was).

ObUnicode: In a Unicode-enabled application, swapping two glyphs (e.g.
in Latin or Cyrillic) or implementing a "conformant" bidi algorithm
that didn't work right would be a bug. Failing to implement bidi or
Arabic glyph shaping while still providing glyphs for Arabic letters
would not be, although that behavior might not meet user expectations.


-Doug Ewell
 Fullerton, California

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