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State of the software industry

October 2022

A few days ago I had the joy of interacting with a python utility use serial port to communicate with a hardware device. This piece of software although very useful has one quirk that drove me absolutely insane. I does not respond to Ctrl + C to quit itself, instead relying on a non-standard Ctrl + ]. I bashed my keyboard for a couple of minutes in frustration trying to exit this program.

I feel the software world is too much of a wild west. Unlike other engineering branches the current software landscape is too devoid of standards, certifications and conventions. This impacts us all even if we don’t like it. From supply chain vunerabilities and lack of security practices (due to incompetence or just pure missunderstanding) to more simple stuff like non-standard keyboard shortcuts.

You could argue this lack of regulation does promote a faster evolution of software programs, but would you trust driving over a bridge that hasn’t been built to a certain quality and security standard? Because that is what we do every single day we use software.

The closest to a standard and regulation I can think of is Apple with it’s draconian app store guidelines. This however is a for-profit corpo and we are slowly starting to see it plays to benefit itself (clamping down on user tracking for third parties but happily allowing within it’s own apps). That more people are not outraged about this is a hard to swallow pill.

I’m greatful for this amazing free pieces of software on which we all rely day in and day out, but I wish we had our own Software Engineering Association and some certification process. We as an industry need to move forward together.