My Turn

When Quality Isn't Job One

Per Klöfver - 2002.07.11

My Turn is Low End Mac's column for reader-submitted articles. It's your turn to share your thoughts on all things Mac (or iPhone, iPod, etc.) and write for the Mac web. Email your submission to Dan Knight .

Did you read the column E-Mac, i-Mac, No Mac by John C. Dvorak at PC Magazine? His way of thinking is kind of odd, and John Cristie already addressed it here at LEM.

What Dvorak says is that the Macintosh line of computers should be discontinued, "put down like an old dog," because he can't see how it can be developed further. He thinks it would be better if Apple used its resources to developing something completely new instead of just making improvements to the GUI introduced by the Xerox Star in the 1970s.

I don't agree with Dvorak, but I find one of the things he says fascinating. What if we really are near a point where the Macintosh - or let's say the personal computer, including Wintels - can't be developed further? What if it is as good as it can be and can't be improved much more in terms of functionality?

Imagine all of the software developers running out of new ideas, so that they have no new features to implement.

Wouldn't that be great!

The software industry is plagued by bad quality (i.e., bugs). Quality just isn't a big priority. It's the features that sell the product. Software manufacturers can ship their products even if they know the quality is low, because should a critical flaw be discovered, they can always send out a patch to fix it.

They do this to keep up with the competition.

My prediction is that as long as everything moves as fast as it does today in the computer industry, quality will not improve. But sooner or later, when the feature race slows down, what will happen when the personal computer becomes more mature: Quality will be a priority.

When the personal computer is developed enough feature-wise, the bugs will begin to be squashed one by one. Eventually it will be pain free to use all those features!

I just hope it'll be sometime in the next 60 years, so I have a fair chance of being around to see it.

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