Topic: user maintenance

topics > computer science > programming > Group: software maintenance

process control

ease of use
non-constraining system
predefined program units
public domain software
source-rich system
understanding systems
user-defined languages
user interface tool kits


Almost all manufactured products can be user serviced. If the user needs assistance, there are a wide variety of service organizations to help him. This is true of automobiles, household appliances, plumbing, and electrical systems. It is not true of transistorized or integrated circuit products, but reliability is good.

Computer software is another matter. It is notoriously prone to bugs and modification requests, but software is difficult, if not impossible, for the amateur to understand and modify. Software producers have an often unwanted monopoly on maintaining their software products. Some solutions do exist: incremental software which can be locally understood, application-oriented software, and software with full design documentation. User groups maintain and extend a number of systems. (cbb 5/80)

Subtopic: everyone as a programmer up

Quote: user customization allows the whole user community to participate in modifying the system [»stalRM6_1981]
Quote: all information should be free; otherwise can't fix things when there's a problem [»levyS_1984]
Quote: as projected 40 years ago, everyone is now a telephone operator, using a high level language; programming also? [»gearCW_1980]
Quote: with CONTROL, programmed and modified programs with inexperienced individuals [»ruhlRC11_1976]
Quote: in 1976, the most pressing problems were in all phases of application software development; by technicians and cost-driven [»boehBW_1979]

Subtopic: program modification vs. creation up

Quote: students did better with modifying an example program that created a simple widget [»pausR10_1992]
Quote: programmers should have access to source code just as an auto mechanic can look at the engine [»weisM11_1987]

Subtopic: English interface up

Quote: TI 3100 data interface uses English prompts for reading memory and I/O content of a sequencer [»instrumentcontrol]
Quote: Microvisory for data logging; dynamic modification of data points, alarms, and parameters; in English [»controleng]

Subtopic: calculator interface up

Quote: data acquisition system uses an HP calculator for system control, data analysis and recording [»instrumentcontrol]

Subtopic: available source up

Quote: Unix source is always available and easily modified; encourages revisions and rewrites [»ritcDM7_1978a]
Quote: source-sparse programs is like kitchen appliances with only vague labels to distinguish them [»weisM11_1987]

Subtopic: systems too complicated up

Quote: most modern operating systems are too complex for user modification; only recourse is to modify the hardware [»bailGV8_1977]

Related Topics up

Group: process control   (13 topics, 106 quotes)

Topic: ease of use (47 items)
Topic: non-constraining system (25 items)
Topic: predefined program units (6 items)
Topic: public domain software (9 items)
Topic: source-rich system (27 items)
Topic: understanding systems (48 items)
Topic: user-defined languages (42 items)
Topic: user interface tool kits
(31 items)

Updated barberCB 3/05
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