Feb 172013
 
 February 17, 2013  Posted by at 11:54 pm Not So Stupid Questions  Add comments

[To celebrate my first year of programming I will ask a ‘stupid’ questions daily on my blog for a year, to make sure I learn at least 365 new things during my second year as a developer]

Who pays for software bugs, are there warranty laws, and any court case examples?

Who pays for software bugs, are there warranty laws, and any court case examples?

You do your very best to create software that is free of the dreaded bugs, but we all know there is no such thing as bug-free software.

But who should pay for bugs?

And I am talking about bugs, not add-on-last-minute-or-I-forgot-to-mention-userstories.

I’m new to this industry, so I decided to ask my colleagues about this, and do a search online.

Usually in a contract there is a warranty/maintenance period included in the fee if there is a set price for the product/work to be done. When there isn’t any set price and the developer/consultant is paid by the hour the client is charged, unless there of course is a major screw up. Most companies will try to keep the client happy and do their best to solve the problem regardless of the contract. ‘Usually these things sort themselves out naturally’- one developer told me. By this he meant that regardless of a contract bugs would be fixed relatively easily. Okay, but are there any laws?

I actually couldn’t find any laws concerning software warranty in particular, but it seems to be common practice to have a 3 or 6 months, one or two years, and a few forever. (ouch).

Some discussions/sites I came across:
What is a standard warranty period for software development?

Software- Warranty – how long?

Testing services and contracts (seems to go for programmers as well)

As for court case examples I was really lucky to stumble upon the Bad Software site, by Cem Knaer J.D.,Ph.D: and David Pels. A very interesting site, that actually has a fine list of court cases. I had a read through a few of them, hoping I’ll never get involved in one 🙂

I’ll drop them an email and see if I can get a hold of them for a few more questions.

Bad Software Court Cases

After about two days asking around and doing some research this is really the best answer I could come up with. I’m not completely happy with this, put I’m posting this nonetheless as I would love to get some input from those of you with way more experience than me in this industry, and from different countries. War stories are always welcome 😀

  2 Responses to “Stupid Question 151-153: Who pays for software bugs, are there warranty laws, and any court case examples?”

  1. At Autonomy, the word ‘bug’ is banned. No developer is allowed to use it. The tracking system does not have that word. Bugs are referred to as ‘Issues’. This is so that the customer cannot claim that things should be fixed during the warranty period since they aren’t recognised as bugs. You’ll excuse me if I stay anonymous here 😉

    • That is a VERY good comment! I actually just had somebody edit a Q I had on stackoverflow from ‘bug’ to ‘issue’ and this explains it (since it was a OS specific Q I expected it to be changed to ‘feature’ LOL). I think this would be a great new question actually, bug or issue?

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