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What Is a Software Bug?

Many software bugs aren’t discovered before programs are released.
Article Details
  • Written By: Jacob Queen
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 17 October 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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A software bug is any error in the code used to create a computer program. Bugs can cause a wide variety of different problems depending on the kind of program and the particular kind of bug involved. For example, some bugs may cause programs to freeze and stop working. Others have the potential to cause errors in the performance of the program that result in the program behaving in unexpected ways. Sometimes a software bug can even cause a program to shut down completely.

Most programming experts agree that it’s almost impossible to create a program of any size without some kind of software bug showing up. With more complicated programs, the chances of bugs developing generally increases. This is because it can be harder for programmers to find all the bugs in programs where there are many different actions users can take.

In order to find any existing software bug problems, programmers generally do everything they can to test programs carefully before releasing them to the public. Sometimes they may even hire special workers just for the purpose of testing software as extensively as possible and reporting the results to the programmers. Even with all these safeguards, many software bugs aren’t discovered before programs are released.

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In some cases, developers may find a bug but decide that it is not serious enough to warrant delaying the release of software. When that happens, the developer may go ahead and release a program and then develop an update, which will fix the bugs that remain. This is also the usual approach for dealing with bugs that are discovered after the release of a program.

Sometimes, a program may be in a constant state of flux because programmers tend to incorporate more features over time. This process generally introduces new software bug problems with each release. This can become an endless cycle, with the programmers continuously adding features to the software and fixing bugs. Essentially, the program may never really be finished. Instead, it may be continually evolving while experiencing growing pains along the way.

Creating a computer program involves the use of code written in programming languages. The nature of computer coding means that even small typos and similar mistakes can easily lead to software bug problems, and it's very difficult for programmers to avoid creating a few problems in this way. It’s also possible for bugs to develop because the programmer makes an error in logic when creating code.

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