Are Programmers Getting Worse?

The only reason I ask is that I'm finding myself getting more and more annoyed with endless updates and patches. With the age of the internet and "easy" updates seems to have come an attitude of put anything out, we can fix it later. Am I the only one who is starting to get annoyed with this? Every time I turn my computer on I'm greeted by a 5 minute wait as what appears to be every piece of software on my PC attempts to update itself to the latest version. Whilst this is 100% understandable when it comes to security definitions for anti virus and anti spyware programs I don't think it should be needed for everything else. We all managed to survive in the past without daily updates.

It was always the case that Microsoft would release whatever software was ready at the time they'd set aside for their release date. It didn't seem to matter what level of completeness the software was at because it would just be patched afterwards. Microsoft was and still is a bit of a joke where the only possible forgiveness was with the size of their projects. When you use 20 million lines of code to do the job of 200,000 there will always be problems. It was also a common problem amongst game programmers, although to be fair they have always lived at the limit of what the hardware could handle so this was to be expected. Just because we can fix things later is it really the right attitude to have to put out unfinished software? As a freeware writer myself I have written my fair share of problems that needed fixing, but I prefer to role them up into an update release (complete with a new version number). Others are more than happy to use your bandwidth with today's patch. Maybe, just maybe, outsourcing and cheap labour is not the way to go. Shit in, shit out.

The thing I find really funny about all this is that back in the day, when programs were written and printed 1 sheet at a time for input this would never have happened. People writing systems had to be good at what they did, the planning, execution and TESTING was everything. The systems were just as complex and many are still in use today, mainly because they actually work! Programmers, they were the people who aced maths and were top of the tree, not somebody who'd watched a TV commercial and fancied a £35k+ a year salary and a company car! It seems that the very basics are now being widely forgotten, I get embarrassed every time I hear about another government software project that has been delivered in a non functioning state. Billions of pounds spent on systems that just don't work, it's hardly like they are writing anything earth shattering, it's usually nothing more than a database sat on top of existing technology. It's not even like a lot of the bugs are deep either, most could have been spotted and corrected with the simplest amount of testing. As I said before in the game developers defence, at least they are working at the cutting edge. If as a programmer you can't knock out a run of the mill database system that meets functional requirements then we're in trouble.

I don't know the answer is because I'm guilty of it too with some of my programs. When I write for free I write quickly. Rapid application has become too RAD and there are way too many programmers out there that aren't clever enough to do the job. No doubt they will be the ones who end up in management positions because they aren't capable of doing the actual work.