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Linux Has Fewer Bugs Than Rivals

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the preaching-to-the-converted dept.

Bug 626

sushant_bhatia_progr writes "Wired has an article stating that according to a four-year analysis of the 5.7 million lines of Linux source code conducted by five Stanford University computer science researchers, the Linux kernel programming code is better and more secure than the programming code of most proprietary software. The report, set to be released on Tuesday, states that the 2.6 Linux production kernel, shipped with software from Red Hat, Novell and other major Linux software vendors, contains 985 bugs in 5.7 million lines of code, well below the industry average for commercial enterprise software. Windows XP, by comparison, contains about 40 million lines of code, with new bugs found on a frequent basis. Commercial software typically has 20 to 30 bugs for every 1,000 lines of code, according to Carnegie Mellon University's CyLab Sustainable Computing Consortium. This would be equivalent to 114,000 to 171,000 bugs in 5.7 million lines of code."

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Make love, not war... (1, Insightful)

thrill12 (711899) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080793)

Proves it:

better love (coding) your software, than making war selling it

:)

Now tell us what the bugs are (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080858)

so we can fix them.

Mistake (3, Funny)

StevenHenderson (806391) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080796)

Windows XP, by comparison, contains about 40 million lines of code

I think they mean "40 million lines of bugs" :)

Re:Mistake (5, Insightful)

chrish (4714) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080850)

Somehow I doubt that the XP kernel is 40 million lines of code. I know it's not good "news" but they should really compare apples to apples in their study.

This just in! "Hello world" has 0 bugs per three lines of code! Most stable and secure software ever devised!

Re:Mistake (3, Insightful)

Allen Zadr (767458) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080986)

I actually agree here. I'm a big Linux proponent, but the whole text seems fishy to me. And if they are certain there are exactly that number of bugs in the code, then they probably have been addressed. Yet, there are probably more bugs yet to be found.

Then, when speaking of XP, they don't quantify the bugs, but merely say, "more are being found daily". Great... a pear.

Re:Mistake (2, Insightful)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080880)

I disagree - some bits of Windows actually work as intended without glaring problems. In fact, the vast majority of Windows (especially in 2000 onwards) does what it's supposed to.

Deleting half the DLLs in sys32 then trying to run applications does not constutute a bug, especially when Windows shouts at you that you really don't want to be deleting them. If the user being able to cause problems was a bug (some would say it is), then Linux is more buggy than anything else. Windows has the decency to complain if you're deleting anything essential, Linux at best goes "Y/N", and even that can be overridden with a switch.

Lots of bugs maybe, but you can't say the entire codebase is badly written.

Redundant? (1)

fuyu-no-neko (839858) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080898)

A redundancy score?
Is someone trying to say that the redundancy in XP is in the form of redundant bugs? :oO

"Ha, you may have squashed one bug, but we have 10 more in there doing exactly the same job!"

Re:Mistake (1)

hashwolf (520572) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080899)

I think they mean "40 million lines of bugs"

... or ONE helluva BIG bug.

Re:Mistake (1)

dosius (230542) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080930)

Yeah, and it's called Luna.

That's if you're talking a corporate version without activation.

Moll.

post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080799)

And then my dad farted and it smelled and I said to my father you farted and it smelled.

Congratulations... (5, Funny)

kjones692 (805101) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080801)

...but while they were going through all those 5.7 million lines of code, would it really have killed them to debug them while they were at it??

Re:Congratulations... (4, Insightful)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080835)

From TFA

Seth Hallem, CEO of Coverity, a provider of source-code analysis, noted that the majority of the bugs documented in the study have already been fixed by members of the open-source development community.

My thought, too (1)

Kythe (4779) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080856)

Since they've found all 985 bugs in the 2.6 Kernel, did they submit them for fixing, or submit patches to fix the bugs themselves? Seems like a waste to just count the bugs, rather than fix them.

Re:Congratulations... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080857)

They used an automatic checker, they didn't go through all the lines by hand.

They did report a lot, if not all, of the bugs to the linux kernel developers

Re:Congratulations... (1)

aborchers (471342) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080888)

would it really have killed them to debug them while they were at it??


You really aren't that familiar with the academic research process, are you?

Joke. Joke. Others have already given the straight answer...

Re:Congratulations... (2, Insightful)

lphuberdeau (774176) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080902)

I doubt they looked up all the code. They probably only made statistics to compare the amount of bugs based on what has been reported and archives.

As a side note, at 20 bugs per 1000 lines, the 40 millions lines of Windows would contain 800000 bugs. I'm not a M$ fan, but this sounds a little excessive.

20-30 bugs per 1000 lines??? (2, Insightful)

phasm42 (588479) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080905)

Commercial software typically has 20 to 30 bugs for every 1,000 lines of code, according to Carnegie Mellon University's CyLab Sustainable Computing Consortium.
I'm gonna call bullshit on this figure. This sounds like a number someone pulled out of their ass. A rate of 20-30 bugs per 1000 lines would render most programs unusable.

Re:20-30 bugs per 1000 lines??? (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080974)

Not necessarly. If the bug only shows up when the code is in state C, and state is a valid but very rare, there's still a bug, but its likely that it wouldn't affect you most of the time.

Re:Congratulations... (1)

Enigma_Man (756516) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080913)

Something I've always wondered about this. How do they identify a "bug"? A bug can be anything from a typographical error (easy to detect, probably won't even _compile_) to accomplishing a slightly different problem than was intended (very difficult to detect, how do you know exactly what the software was intendd to do). So how are they qualitatively identifying "bugs"?

Also, if they're so good at identifying them, is it much different to fix them?

I'm an EE, not a CS, so I'm not familiar with hardcore programming tools, but I'd love it if I had something that could point out bugs in my code before I try it.

-Jesse

Re:Congratulations... (1)

eobanb (823187) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080937)

The problem with this whole analysis is that it sounds nice on paper, but it doesn't accurately represent a user experience. Think about all the bugs you've ever encountered in Linux. How many of them were actually due to bugs in the kernel? No, virtually all bugs you're going to encounter on a day-to-day basis will be in user space tools, like bundled apps, GUI stuff, and really just everything between you and the kernel. Also, how much of Windows is being looked at, here? Again, many of the bugs in Windows are not in its kernel, but user space...sheesh. It'd probably be more useful to look at the whole system. Unless you're writing a kernel module or a driver or something, when's the last time you directly interacted with any part of the Linux kernel itself?

How can one be sure (5, Insightful)

UltimaGuy (745333) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080803)

How can one be sure about closed source kernels like Windows XP. Even though I agree that it has to contain more bugs, without the actual source how can any one make any judgement in this matter?

Re:How can one be sure (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080819)

Simple. Windows kicks up more bugs in use than Linux does.

Re:How can one be sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080866)

That could be the same bug manifesting itself over and over.

Re:How can one be sure (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080904)

That one's called Internet Explorer.

Re:How can one be sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080831)

You can't be sure, which is what the article states. They didn't test Windows.

Of course, thats not important when you can put an "anti-M$" spin on an article to further your agenda.

Re:How can one be sure (2, Informative)

Deviate_X (578495) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080950)

Actually "Windows XP" isn't a Kernel. The kernel of Windows XP is called the actually called the "NT Executive" - which is composed of the Hal (Hardware abstractiomn..), Microkernel and kernel services ( device drivers,.. ).

Windows XP Architecture [senecac.on.ca]

Re:How can one be sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080953)

It didn't say in the article if they looked at Windows source code or not. But, if they really wanted to, they could license with Microsoft with its Shared Source Initiative? If they did, then they could compare Linux and Windows line-by-line. They are part of a univeristy, so they could have licence agreement with Microsoft.

I wonder... (1, Offtopic)

Chi-RAV (541181) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080804)

I wonder which facts from this study will end up on Steve Balmers Propaganda presentation sheets...

Re:I wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080896)

"Our findings show that Linux contains an extreme ... defect rate ..." said Hallem. "Many security holes in software are the result of software bugs that can be eliminated with good programming processes."

Re:I wonder... (1)

Walkiry (698192) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080990)

Something along the lines of "a careful audit of the Linux Kernel found nearly 1,000 bugs, whereas Windows XP has only had to release , proving our software is more robust and has less bugs to fix".

Conflict of interest... (5, Funny)

BJZQ8 (644168) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080805)

The problem is that there is very often little vested interest in fixing bugs in closed software...if it can be covered up, then so be it. In open software, there's always a reason, even if it is just to keep people from pointing at your code and laughing.

Re:Conflict of interest... (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080836)

If it can be covered up then it's not a very serious bug. Why spend money fixing bugs that aren't a big deal?

Re:Conflict of interest... (4, Funny)

akadruid (606405) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080876)

If it can be covered up then it's not a very serious bug. Why spend money fixing bugs that aren't a big deal?

See Also: Diebold [wikipedia.org]

Not serious? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080958)

Crap code can be made to pass some poor unit tests (it works, as long as the input is exactly what you expect it to be), and slide through poor Q&A (we tested the data the way we expect them to be, and the pieces work together).

It can still make for a helluva mess if there is unexpected data (past a certain range, called by a different function with a wider range, while in a wrong state etc.) Perhaps it'll bring the program down in flames out on the users machine, but tracking it down might be hell. So no, the company couldn't cover it up, but the *programmer* covered it up.

Bugs in crap code tend to also be crappy documented, and near impossible to understand so you can fix it. The result is a bunch of patches and workarounds until you really got no idea what you're doing.

Kjella

That's not just funny - it's TRUE! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080978)

Why do you think code inspections work so well?

Yes, the extra eyes looking at your code helps. But so does the fact that you know that there will be extra eyes looking at your code.

So you do a better job.

And the correllary is therefore that one of the big reasons some programmers don't like code inspections is that they don't want others to see their code.

Gee, if you worked for me and didn't want others to see your code I'd wonder why.

Definitions (2)

grennis (344262) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080811)

I'd like to draw conclusions from this, but I don't know what meaning of "bug" they are using here.

Lots of "bugs" aren't really bugs at all, so all these numbers (lies, damn lies, and statistics) don't mean anything to me until I know the assumptions they are using as a basis for the study.

huh :) (0, Offtopic)

island_tux (803586) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080812)

Why I'm I not Suprised :) ?

Re:huh :) (1)

Fig, formerly A.C. (543042) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080838)

Yeah, my first thought was "No sh*t!!"

At least a totally freaking obvious story is better than a redundant one. ;-)

Whoops! (1)

BigHungryJoe (737554) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080814)

Make that 986, they just found another one.

bhj

What about the ones they missed? (2, Informative)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080818)

Not to be a downer but, how do we know they didn't miss anything? 5.7 million lines is a lot of code to go through and analyze. I'm also curious where they came up with the 20-30 bugs per thousand lines of code that proprietary software suffers from since they can't see the code.

Of course, we must remember, "It's not a bug, it's a feature!"

Re:What about the ones they missed? (1)

Roofus (15591) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080965)

I don't think they made any attempt to determine the average number of lines per bug of code, they just took the known industry average.

Patch... (0)

leonmergen (807379) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080821)

... so, since they've discovered that many bugs, where's the patch? :)

Power of Open Source (1)

mordors9 (665662) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080825)

Hopefully since those bugs in the Linux kernel have been identified, they can be fixed. While whatever bugs there are in Windows have not been identified since the source code is not availalble. For those we will have to wait for the next exploit to be announced.

Re:Power of Open Source (1)

Dorsai65 (804760) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080878)

we will have to wait for the next exploit to be announced

That should be exploitS.

sigh... (1)

banana fiend (611664) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080829)

"Windows XP, by comparison, contains about 40 million lines of code, with new bugs found on a frequent basis"

which compares very well to a rate of "very frequently" on "less" lines of code. probably at least 2-3 times better - or "more".

Re:sigh... (2, Interesting)

ceeam (39911) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080891)

Note how the (/.) article does NOT state the number of bugs in WindowsXP code. It just states the number of lines in XP code (supposedly, courtesy Microsoft Corp.) and some _industry_average_ bugs per line numbers. I would call that "propaganda" if I weren't on their side ;)

Bug Fixes (1)

timmyf2371 (586051) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080830)

Not being a computer scientist or coder by any means, I have a couple of questions.

1. Are these the only bugs to be found in the Linux kernel?

2. Now that these bugs have been identified, should these bugs be fixed would that mean that Linux itsself could truthfully be classified as "bug-free" or am I missing something?

Re:Bug Fixes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080911)

1. No, these probably are not the only bugs in the linux kernel

2. Testing for bugs only shows the existence of bugs, never the absence of bugs

Bug Fixed ! (1)

hopbine (618442) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080840)

Have they fixed the 985 bugs - if they have how many bugs are left ?

Apple != Orange (5, Interesting)

kin_korn_karn (466864) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080845)

Talk about misleading stats...

The Windows XP code base includes all of the extraneous crap that gets bundled with and on top of the kernel.

The "Linux" code base just includes the kernel.

Re:Apple != Orange (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080906)

If only we could actually get just the OS part of Windows I might agree with you, but seeing as you HAVE to have all the extraneous crap "because it's integral" to the product then the windows kernel encapsulates the extraneous crap and hence your argument is invalid. It's also about the %age of bugs per line of code and it doesn't just talk about windows. RTFA

Re:Apple != Orange (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080929)

True. My guess is that the actual kernel portion of Windows XP is as or possibly more solid than the Linux kernel.

LOC != codetype (1)

thrill12 (711899) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080933)

We're talking about # bugs per # lines of code - it doesn't matter what the code does - it matters that the # bugs per LOC are relatively low.

Re:LOC != codetype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080971)

#include

main()
{
printf ("Hello World!\n");
return 0;
}

// This code has fewer bugs per line of code than the Linux Kernel!

Re:Apple != Orange (1)

Seahawk (70898) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080969)

On the other hand, Linux contains lots of code drivers for products, which arent counted in the windows source code?

Still apples to oranges though - But isnt that a requirement on /. ;o)

Re:Apple != Orange (4, Insightful)

abb3w (696381) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080979)

The Windows XP code base includes all of the extraneous crap that gets bundled with and on top of the kernel.

This is what you get for integrating your web browser into your operating system. Legality aside, there was a low cunning to that business move when M$ did it. Now, however, that decision is coming back to bite them on the tender bits: the browser is part of the OS, ergo bugs in the browser count as bugs in the OS.

Re:Apple != Orange (1)

Realistic_Dragon (655151) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080982)

It's normalised by LoCs. So as long as the average for every part of the code is the same, then it's ok.

Since you can bring down the whole of windows by a crash in one of there 8x lines of code the error rate has the same significance as the error rate in the 1x lines of Linux code. (Ie 1 error in 1000 lines is still 1 potentially critical error in 1000 lines no matter which part of the code base it appears in).

Wrong: Apple == Orange (1)

chroot_james (833654) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080989)

From the post itself: The report, set to be released on Tuesday, states that the 2.6 Linux production kernel, shipped with software from Red Hat, Novell and other major Linux software vendors, contains 985 bugs in 5.7 million lines of code, well below the industry average for commercial enterprise software See where it says: "shipped with software from Red Hat, Novell and other major Linux software vendors"

Real science (1)

coopseruantalon (835573) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080854)

It is nice to see som real documentation from independt institutions that document what we have known for a long time. I took note of thge fact that the test had run for 4 years. That's some testing period. Hope that keep MS quiet for some time.

Desktop OS (1)

Geoff-with-a-G (762688) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080860)

They're calling Windows XP a Linux "rival"?

If you're really itching to do a Windows vs. Linux comparison, you should at least be looking at Windows 2000 or Windows 2003.

Re:Desktop OS (1)

ceeam (39911) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080936)

Is Windows 2003 a rival for a Linux deep inside my DVD player or do you imply something?

I always suspected (1)

pymerej (770535) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080868)

That Linux is more bug free than it's rivals. It's nice to be able to show my clients. "Look! There really are less bugs than Windows server software!" With this, more of them may actually believe me.

Re:I always suspected (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080972)

yes, because the other dozen studies proving that windows is more secure certainly convinced the public of that.

Very accurate count (1)

Bas_Wijnen (523957) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080870)

985 bugs? That sounds like an exact number. Of course that is possible, it being open source, but I hope they don't believe that they found them all. Debugging is quite a profession on itself, and I don't think anyone has found the ultimate "solution" for it.

Anyway, I sure hope they at least reported the bugs they found. Being the best is no reason not to want better. (And no, I did not imply that Linux is the best existing kernel.)

This headline from the No Screaming S--- Dept. (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080872)

Finally! A study to document the entirely obvious.

Re:This headline from the No Screaming S--- Dept. (1)

djeddiej (825677) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080959)

it may be obvious like a bug in the fog...this article does not prove anything. In other words, it may be said that Linux is less buggier, but it is also smaller, has a smaller user base, and really the comparison did not do a full scale analysis of what typically runs on these OS's in a given session. So think a little more before screaming Linux wins. (or Windows Wins, or Z80 wins)

Not completely scientific (5, Interesting)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080874)

First off, what does this statement mean?

"[Linux has] 985 bugs in 5.7 million lines of code, well below the industry average for commercial enterprise software. Windows XP, by comparison, contains about 40 million lines of code, with new bugs found on a frequent basis."

So Linux has 985 bugs. Windows has bugs that appear frequently. Ok that doesn't really tell me anything. I tried to dig a bit deeper [zdnet.co.uk] and came up with: "Coverity has not analysed the source code to Microsoft Windows because the company does not have access to the source code, Hallem said. Apple Computer's Mac OS X has a great deal of proprietary programming, but the core of the operating system is based on BSD, an open-source operating system similar to Linux."

So everything is based on estimates. Now, you know and I know that the Linux kernel has less bugs... but this is a tentative (at best, shoddy at worst) way of presenting that idea.

Number of rivals? (1)

farnerup (608326) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080879)

  1. Linux Has Fewer Bugs Than Rivals
  2. Novell and other major Linux software vendors, contains 985 bugs
Ergo: there are at least 987 operating systems in the world.

Re:Number of rivals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080909)

ITYM 986 HTH HAND.

Huh? (1)

PrvtBurrito (557287) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080885)

Since they didn't compare it to anything else, maybe their method just had low sensitivity? For example, I could analyze linux, find one bug and then be done. Linux has only one bug. Obviously my method is flawed. It only works appropriately when you actually apply the same protocol on a control, that is actual commercial buggy code. And to make the comparisons they want to windows, they should actually run windows code. (For all I know they could have done this, but the article seems to focus a lot on a comparison between linux and windows, and they didn't even test windows.)

More /. FUD (1, Insightful)

m00nun1t (588082) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080886)

If the same article were submitted but used windows instead of linux, it would have either been rejected or severely criticised in the abstract.

Re:More /. FUD (1)

ceeam (39911) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080973)

Hmm, maybe because:

1) It would be untrue.

2) _This_ article has about the same chance to appear on microsoft.com as .... well, help me here :)

Linux Kernel vs Windows XP (3, Insightful)

vasqzr (619165) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080887)


What about if you throw in KDE or GNOME, Mozilla, etc, everything that you'd have to add to really equal the features of Windows XP....

Food for thought... (1)

JFMulder (59706) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080889)

Maybe there's so many bugs in recent Microsoft OSes because the code base is starting to get so huge that it's harder and harder to modify a known API without breaking something by mistake.

After all, maybe there's 10 times the bugs in Windows because there's 10 times the code. Earlier mistakes were mostly squashed out, but API or workflow defeciencies always come up late in development, no matter how you plan and when you have something as huge as Windows, it might be hard to reverse the direction they have taken and have to make do with what they have now. It's not as if Microsoft OSes are based on any variant of Unix or something.

Maybe the people who work at Microsoft aren't all big nerds who know 40 million of code by heart.

Retarded report (2, Interesting)

0x54524F4C4C (712971) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080895)



It's a comparison between oranges and apples. Windows has a GUI and a huge userland with complex applications. Linux is just a silly kernel (yes, silly if compared with the other OSS alternatives -- and definitely buggier than the others). But since it goes into slashdot's agenda, let's give it all the latitude.

I particularly like Morton's comment (1)

youvegottobekidding (615462) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080897)

It stands in stark contrast to some recent comments of the proprietary software spokesmen.

Kernel is not the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080901)

... the ongoing inability of creating a proper desktop environment is. I want to be able to use commands like cut'n'paste in between all programs, from terminal to OOwriter. Also, the driver version stuff can be done better. When I upgrade a kernel I don't want to recompile my Nvidia driver. It should just _work_. The fact that open source software can be the root of something that does work, is proven beyond doubt by Apple's OS X.

Re:Kernel is not the problem (2, Interesting)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080976)

Amen to that. I have never been a big Apple fan, but one thing I will say in their favour is that it just works.

Even on Windows machines, Apple software just works. iTunes shares music across the network with a single checkbox and everything else just works. I plug my iPod in and it just synchronises, and comes up with a playlist based on what I listen to and what I like.

Doing something similar with a combination of vendors? Not a chance. Doing something similar on Linux based systems? Possible certainly, but I don't want to have to write it.

Linux Kernel is solid. Sadly, once you put useful applications on it (like the ones that make WXP 40 million lines long) it will fall apart.

Four Years? (2, Insightful)

!the!bad!fish! (704825) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080907)

according to a four-year analysis of ...
... the 2.6 Linux production kernel

The 2.6 kernel isn't even a year old yet. How'd they do a 4 year analysis?

No I didn't RTFA.

Oh Gawd please make it stop (1)

djeddiej (825677) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080910)

This Windows survey says Windows is better. This Linux survey says Linux is better. Who knows? Who cares? The only way to do a fair comparison is to have both platforms tested on equal footing, and its never ever going to happen while Windows is a closed system. Just keep coding, folks. How does fodder like this end up on slashdot? It just fuels flamebaiters to post Win Vs Lin vs Commodore Vic 20 OS articles.

Sure, nice analysis, but did they pay??? (1)

bcarl314 (804900) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080916)

Sure this is nice and show what we already knew, but the burning question is:

Did Stanford pay tthe $699 fee to SCO???

the longer you run a program.. (1)

JCOTTON (775912) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080919)

In my IT shop we have code that has been running for up to 30 years. I guess that we have worked out most, if not all, of the "bugs" in these applications.
If Microsoft trys to release new software every 2 to 3 years, then they really have not had time to fully debug. In their race to beat the compitition, they have chosen quantity over quality. So be it. Most of the computer software consuming public have decided that it works "good enough".

Statistics (2, Informative)

amigoro (761348) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080922)

  • Typical Commercial Software: 20 to 30 bugs for every 1,000 lines of code (Kloc)
  • Linux kernel : 0.17 bugs per Kloc
  • Windows XP: 40-50 bugs per Kloc Source [neu.edu]


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Apples and oranges... (1)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080926)

Uh, I'm not sure how this is a correct comparison. Since when is a bug (what they presumably looked at in Linux) a security flaw (what they presumably looked for in Windows, considering they didn't have hands on the code)? According to the article summary, they measured "bugs" in Windows by counting the number of identified security flaws, and compared it to the (estimated) number of lines of code.

I'd assume each flaw in Windows would actually result from multiple bugs (incorrectly defined data structure on this line, misread on this line, etc). This would actually skew the results MORE against Windows.

On the other hands, Windows has a lot more code built-in (for better or for worse) for functionality than the average Linux distro. Were they comparing functionaly the same OSes? They claim they were examining kernels, but does Windows KERNEL have 40 million lines (I always read the entire system did)? There's so many intangibles that the article itself fails to answer. All it does is stir up flames.

with 40 million lines oif code (1)

JaJ_D (652372) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080927)

"[Windows xp has]40 million lines of code..." and if 5.7 million lines of code should have "114,000 to 171,000 bugs" that should be that windows has 800k - 1.2 million bugs!!!!

Wow, from the standard of their bugs thre's got to be some _really_ good ones in the source somewhere:-]

And what about the other open-source rivals? (1)

systems (764012) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080928)

Does linux have fewer bugs than the freebsd, netbsd, openbsd kernels, the hurd and more?

That would also be interesting.

I expect the openbsd kernel to win!
But I'd still choose GNU/Debian for many other different reasons

How do they find bugs? (1)

lunar_legacy (715938) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080931)

What is the basis of these kinds of studies? Is it based on known bugs and submited patches of Linux Kernel? Or they've found new previously unknown bugs?

windows bugs? (1)

Major_Small (720272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080932)

it would be interesting to know how many bugs there are in windows XP code...

I find those numbers a little hard to believe.

Next up on "Things That Every /.er Knew Anyway..." (1)

TooMuchEspressoGuy (763203) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080934)

...a new study confirming that patents do indeed stifle creativity in the software market; an analyst explaining that Microsoft is actually a monopoly; and how the DMCA can be abused to take away fair use rights.

FUCK YOU TACO! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080938)

FUCK YOU TACO! I submitted this story yesterday BUT YOU MOTHERFUCKER REJECTED IT!

Keeping Things In Perspective (1)

MankyD (567984) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080939)

Just to be sure, doesn't windows include a GUI and Web browser in their kernel/OS - addning several thousand lines of code to the count? (Also great places to find bugs.)

Less Features? (1)

Apreche (239272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080940)

While I think it is plainly obvious that in terms of stability, performance and security that Linux systems are superior to windows systems I don't think that bugs per line of code is a very good measurement. The designs of the two operating systems are so far off from each other its really not a fair comparison.

A bettery way would be a component by component comparison. For example: look at the memory management code in Linux then in Windows. Compare the code for features as well as bugs. Do this for every component. Then you will get a fair comparison.

Of course, I'm almost sure that the result will be that the components of linux are smaller, less buggy, and more "computer science correct" than the windows counterparts. But I'm also sure you will find the windows code to have more features. Meaning the ability to do so many backwards compatible things that nobody understands. So the features don't necessarily mean beneficial abilities for the end user, but they mean ways in which the code allows for so many possibilities.

Interesting, but the comparisons are flawed.. (2, Interesting)

pcardno (450934) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080956)

Sounds like it was a pretty dull thing to do, but reasonably interesting results. I would question though that the "bugs" they found would seem to be pure programming bugs, since they just analysed the source code. The majority of bugs found in systems are usually found by actually using the software and often come about as a result of either unexpected circumstances, unexpected input or compatability issues. Merely reporting the straight programming errors really isn't the same thing.

Also "Windows XP, by comparison, contains about 40 million lines of code, with new bugs found on a frequent basis" isn't exactly very scientific either. How frequent? How severe? XP has been released for roughly 3 years. According to the poster, it's roughly 8 times the size of the code these guys analysed, in which they found 985 errors. So to be at the same level, that would allow for around 7880 bugs, or about 8-10 bugs being found per day since its release. Is that the frequency that's implied here?

It sounds like a good bit of initial research, but probably only just to Bachelors degree level. They need to apply this research correctly in fair comparisons to other operating systems before the results they came up with are meaningful.

Just the kernel (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080963)

It's good to see that the Linux kernel is well designed and coded.

What really matters is what you run on the thing, many security issues occur outside of the kernel.

985 bugs makes jack a dull boy... (1)

slungsolow (722380) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080964)

985 bugs is enough to give you a new bug every day for the next 3 years. How does that make it better than microsoft? How does that make this article seem any less biased towards linux? Seriously?

Kill my karma all you want, but the jab at windows ruins any objectivity in the article. Its obvious that they didn't research the actual number of bugs in microsofts product, so really this is just a marketing pitch for open source instead of an actual reason to embrace it.

Faith based kernel programming (1, Flamebait)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080970)

985 bugs in 5.7 million lines of code, well below the industry average for commercial enterprise software.

It is clear that each line of Linux kernel code has 0.0001728th part of a bug. Obviously, Linux programers are evil...they cruelly chop up bugs (and would think nothing of doing the same to cute little puppies) into little, almost unrecognizable chunks and put them in each line of code.

Microsoft is clearly much more compassionate and Pro-Life (TM)...they're willing to forego a little software quality if it means saving a A Bug's Life (TM).

985 bugs ey? (1)

odyrithm (461343) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080980)

So if they submit the patches would this make Linux perfect?

Comparing an OS to a Kernel? (1)

EightBits (61345) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080992)

That's all nice and dandy, but maybe we should be comparing an entire Linux-based OS to Windows XP. Remember that Windows XP comes with a media player, wordpad, notepad, and many many other tools. So let's take the full Redhat Enterprise WS distro (since it's a pretty popular commercial distro) and track down all it's bugs and see if that average doesn't change. I don't think we should be comparing OS vs Kernel. It takes a lot more than a kernel to make my Linux machine go. Having said that, I would be very interested in a comparison of the Windows XP kernel to the Linux kernel.

Linux features. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080995)

So, this is another area where Linux is severely lacking.

I have decided to donate some of my code to bring Linux up to the standards set by commercial operating systems with regard to unexpected extra features. I have a great track record with this, and I'm sure that if my memory allocation subroutines are incorporated into the kernel, Linux will no longer languish at the bottom of the list of semi intentional value added programming decisions per thousand lines of code.

Fewer lines of code, fewer bugs AND FEWER FEATURES (0, Offtopic)

Cycline3 (678496) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080997)

Fewer lines of code, fewer bugs AND FEWER FEATURES. What does it matter if it's better written software, if it's not easy to use or won't do what you want it to do?

People can argue all they want - but Linux vs. OS X or Win XP for the average joe on the desktop just is NOT a reality yet. Not even close.

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