Re: [SystemSafety] Fwd: Re: OpenSSL Bug

From: C. Michael Holloway < >
Date: Thu, 10 Apr 2014 17:11:52 -0400

On 4/10/14 4:25 PM, Peter Bernard Ladkin wrote:
> Oh, there are obvious ways. Suppose we made it a crime, punishable by
> hanging, drawing and quartering, to release in any form for use by the
> public code that is not "type-conform".
My best guess is that before all of the readers of this list pass from the earth, the use of certain programming languages will be outlawed in at least some civilized countries. Just as the use of asbestos is banned in many jurisdictions because its harmful effects are deemed to outweigh its benefits, so too will the use of (for example) C be banned.

> Isn't it far better for us computer scientists to agree what "type conform" means, to admit that
> non-type-conform SW has caused endless problems, and to demonstrate progress in addressing the
> scourge of non-type-conformity before the politicians decide to intervene?

My inclination is to think that the history of other disciplines suggests that intervention of politicians (or at least lawyers and juries) is more likely to be necessary than not. Also, I am much less sanguine than PBL of the likelihood that a gathering of computer scientists could agree on anything, much less on a definition of "type conform". The history of conversations on this list (and its predecessors / siblings) suggests that agreement is exceedingly rare.


*C. Michael Holloway*, Senior Research Engineer
Safety Critical Avionics Systems Branch, Research Directorate
NASA Langley Research Center / MS 130 Hampton VA 23681-2199 USA
office phone: +1.757.864.1701 /often forwarded to/ +1.757.598.1707

The words in this message are mine alone; neither blame nor credit NASA 
for them.

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Received on Thu Apr 10 2014 - 23:12:12 CEST

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