Feature, not a bug

Back in the olden days of the 8086, I heard the story of the “bug” on the tube being the derivation of “bug” in geekese. Said now to be a Nerdurban myth.

I also heard about how some guy was using a program, put out by IBM IIRC. He hit a key combination he didn’t ordinarily do, and all his stuff went straight into the bit bucket, poof, hours of work went to the place that the candle flame goes when you blow it out.

He called up the malefactors and screamed his head off and the told him “Thats not a bug. That’s a feature, press that combination of keys to delete everything. It just wasn’t documented.” According to the Nerdurban legend, the next printed documentation did indeed list that key combination as a “feature”! “Chutzpah”, as they say in Lubbock!


They speak Yiddish in Lubbock?

Probably not for very long.

Regarding “bug,” not exactly.

As once explained to me by a blue-suited man: the rationale for IBM’s bugs-become-features was that where a client had put in place a work-around for a bug, it would be dangerous to remove that bug as the client’s work-around may then fail. Much safer to document the bug which then, as if by magic, becomes a feature which would be retained in future releases. This was in the days when IBM was the ‘evil empire’ and Bill Gates was still one of the good guys. In those days if IBM said it you believed it (or at least kept your doubts to yourself).