[Ads-l] robust software (was News: Topsy Reaches Bottomsy)

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at NETSCAPE.COM
Wed Jan 13 23:15:02 UTC 2016


On Wed, 6 Jan 2016 22:55:47 Zone-0500 ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
had an epiphany and wrote:
<quote>
The last time I compared the search engine provided by twitter to the
topsy search engine I found that topsy displayed tweets that were not
displayed by the twitter search engine. Topsy seemed to be more
robust. So I switched to topsy.

I do not remember when I performed the comparison. It was probably
more than one year ago. Perhaps the current twitter search engine is
robust. I hope so.
<end quote>

This led me to wonder when the word "robust" was first applied to software.  I tried Google Books and found a forest of snippet views and misdatings but one possible early (?) usage (assuming the title of the work is quoted accurately):

https://books.google.com/books?id=70kgAQAAIAAJ&dq=robust%2Bsoftware&focus=searchwithinvolume&q=robust

On the teaching of the design of large software systems: proceedings of the joint I.B.M./University of Newcastle upon Tyne seminar held in the University Computing Laboratory, 8th-12th September, 1969

page 42 (by combining snippets searched for as "robust" and "robust + software"
<quote>
It is important to instil [sic] into these future software writers the right attitude towards users of the system they will construct.  THey will not have the opportunity of thinking this out while working in a manufacturer's team, where the pressure to improve programs will only come as a delayed feedfack from the eventual users.  They must be encouraged to wrie programs which are robust, well thought out and which cater for all likely contingencies.
<end quote>

   - Jim Landau


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