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Andrew Koenig

Dr. Dobb's Bloggers

What can we do about finger-pointing?

July 13, 2010

I installed a new version of a widely used software package on my computer recently and found that it crashed randomly. I eventually isolated the problem: It would crash whenever it tried to do something that required another software package that was also on my computer. I could avoid the crashes by uninstalling the latter package, but of course then I wouldn't be able to use it in other contexts.Let's use A and B to refer to the supliers of these two packages. When I contacted A about the problem, they said that because unstalling B's software made the problem go away, the problem must lie with B; so they would not do anthing. B said that because the previous version of A's software worked with theirs, the problem must lie with A, so they would not do anything.

So here I am in an all-too-familiar situation: I have paid for software from two vendors; the two software packages will not work together; and each vendor blames the other.

As system designers, how can we minimize the chance of our customers being frustrated this way?I have paid for software from two vendors; the two software packages will not work together; and each vendor blames the other.

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