Colin Barker and Jonathan Bennett, Special to CNET

Oracle’s security chief says the software industry is so riddled with buggy product makers that “you wouldn’t get on a plane built by software developers.”

Chief Security Officer Mary Ann Davidson has hit out at an industry in which “most software people are not trained to think in terms of safety, security and reliability.” Instead, they are wedded to a culture of “patch, patch, patch,” at a cost to businesses of $59 billion, she said.

“What if civil engineers built bridges the way developers write code?” she asked. “What would happen is that you would get the blue bridge of death appearing on your highway in the morning.”

ROBERT A. GUTH , Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, reports:

REDMOND, Wash. — Jim Allchin, a senior Microsoft Corp. executive, walked into Bill Gates’s office here one day in July last year to deliver a bombshell about the next generation of Microsoft Windows.

“It’s not going to work,” Mr. Allchin says he told the Microsoft chairman. The new version, code-named Longhorn, was so complex its writers would never be able to make it run properly.

The news got even worse: Longhorn was irredeemable because Microsoft engineers were building it just as they had always built software. Throughout its history, Microsoft had let thousands of programmers each produce their own piece of computer code, then stitched it together into one sprawling program. Now, Mr. Allchin argued, the jig was up. Microsoft needed to start over.

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“A challenge for socially-minded graphic designers: design the interface for new, open-source internet TV software. We are a non-profit organization building a software platform that will allow anyone to broadcast and watch channels of high-resolution internet video (learn more). We want to create a serious, independent alternative to commercial television that gives everyone access. If you believe that our technology and approach have a real chance to democratize mass media, then we need you to help us design our software at a level that rivals any proprietary, corporate media platform.”

Marc L. Songini, ComputerWorld, (via Slashdot) reports:

Failure to secure access to the source code of a key application added more than $10 million to the cost of the infamous “Big Dig” highway construction project in Boston, according to the Massachusetts state auditor.

The application, called the Integrated Project Control System (IPCS), handles traffic, roadway, fire and security systems management for the $14 billion Central Artery/Third Harbor Tunnel Project. Software development for the IPCS project remains unfinished.

25,000,000 Million FireFox Downloads

The Mozilla Foundation reports, via Slashdot:

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. - February 16th, 2005 - The Mozilla Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving choice and promoting innovation on the Internet, today announced its award-winning Firefox browser has been downloaded more than 25 million times, fueled by consumers’ demand for a faster, safer Internet experience. Released less than 100-days-ago Firefox has quickly become the browser of choice, offering user-friendly features such as tabbed browsing, built-in pop-up blocking and live bookmarks.

Brian Jones writes on

Red Hat has really been grating my nerves as of late. Undocumented features that are advertised but unusable, recommended updates that are thoroughly broken, failure to update packages with high-impact problems, and a poor software packaging and distribution policy have me testing other distributions with a goal of taking my business elsewhere.