Universal, Permanent, Eternal, Immutable, and Unchanging
Laws of Dependability
10. To err is human, but to really foul up, you need a computer
10.1 -- The amount of damage
one human being can do doubles every 18 months.
(1st Corollary of Moore's Law)
10.2 -- A manager with new
software is like a kid who just found his Dad’s gun:
he doesn’t know how to use it,
he has no idea how much damage it can do, and
the best you can hope for is that someone will take it away before he does any real harm.
10.3 -- The mouse is quicker
than the brain.
9. Software is inherently less reliable than hardware
9.1 -- No spelling checker is prefect.
9.2 -- There is always one more bug. -- (Lubarsky's Law of Cybernetic Entomology)
9.3 -- Failure is not an option; it comes bundled with the software. -- unknown, quoted by Greg Arundale
9.4 -- Windows (enough
8. Liveware is inherently less reliable than software
8.1 -- Never trust any system designed, built, programmed, or operated by a human.
8.2 -- The further removed a system is from human intervention, the more dependable it is likely to be.
8.3 -- Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.
8.4 -- Programming today is a
race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better
idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots.
So far, the Universe is winning. -- Rich Cook
8.5 -- Never attribute to
malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity --
7. No good deed goes unpunished
7.1 -- The circuit most
likely to short-out and drain the batteries is the monitoring circuit
installed to protect the batteries.
7.2 -- If it ain't broke,
don't fix it!
6. Every silver lining has a cloud
6.1 -- Every endeavor, no
matter how well intentioned, is accompanied by adverse effects
that can negate or overshadow the expected benefits of the endeavor.
(the law of unintended consequences) -- as stated by Roger Mallett
6.2 -- They who would give up
an essential liberty for temporary security,
deserve neither liberty or security. -- Benjamin Franklin
6.3 -- No trees were killed
in the creation of this message.
However, a great many electrons were terribly inconvenienced. -- Unknown
5. The early bird gets the bugs
5.1 -- Never trust any product prior to Version 2.1.
5.2 -- The second mouse to reach the trap gets the cheese.
5.3 -- The early worm gets
the bird. -- David House
4. Murphy's Law is a Real-Time process
4.1 -- Things will go wrong on Murphy's timetable, not ours. -- Roger Boisjoly
4.2 -- An assumption will remain valid only until you come to depend on it.
4.3 -- The trouble with weather forecasting is that it's right too often for us to ignore it
and wrong too often for us to rely on it. -- Patrick Young
4.4 -- Experience is something you get right after you need it. -- David House
4.5 -- The probability of success in any experiment is inversely proportional to
the number and importance of observers present -- Henry Yee.
3. Redundancy does not guarantee Fault-Tolerance
3.1 -- The first tire to go flat just might be the spare.
3.2 -- A man with one watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure. – Segal’s Law
3.3 -- One house full of
politicians can do just as much damage as two. -- Roger Welsch
(re Nebraska's unicameral legislature).
3.4 -- Sed quis
custodiet ipsos custodes est (Who shall guard the guardians
themselves)? -- Juvenal
(as quoted by R. Schlichting and F. Schneider).
2. Reality is Application Dependent
2.1 -- As far as the laws of
mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and
as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality -- Albert Einstein.
2.2 -- Mother nature is
dealing the cards, and we have to play the hand we are dealt,
even when she's dealing from the bottom of the deck -- unidentified forest fire fighter.
2.3 -- For every Ph.D., there is an equal and opposite Ph.D. -- Thomas Roden (Roden's First Law of Research)
2.4 -- In Science:
Reality is what the evidence says it is,
until you can gather more detailed evidence.
In Religion: Reality is what they say it is; pay no attention to that evidence behind the curtain.
In Politics: Reality is whatever you can fool the dumbest 51% of the people into believing it is.
In Reporting: Reality is whatever you need to say to sell more newspapers or commercials.
In Advertising: Reality is whatever you can get away with saying before the FDA or FCC catch you.
In Engineering: Reality is as reality does.
1. Keep It Simple, Stupid (The KISS Principle).
1.1 -- Plurality should not be assumed without necessity -- William of Occam (Occam's Razor).
1.2 -- Entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity -- (popular variant of Occam's Razor).
1.3 -- There are two ways of
constructing a software design. One way is to make it so simple that
there are obviously no deficiencies. And the other way is to make it so complicated that
there are no obvious deficiencies. -- C.A.R. Hoare.
1.4 -- Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication -- Leonardo DaVinci.
1.5 -- Make things as simple as possible, but no simpler -- Albert Einstein.
1.5.1 -- Aye, there's the rub -- Shakespeare.
Editor's Notes: These laws have been collected from a variety of sources, and I have tried to properly cite the originator when known. The astute reader will note the absence of "Murphy's Law", but it's so basic that it goes without saying. Besides, several of these laws can be considered corollaries of Murphy's Law. Finally, as with anything labelled "Universal, Permanent, Eternal, Immutable" and/or "Unchanging", these laws are subject to revision without notice.