December 17, 2008

Pesticide Paradox

Software Testing Techniques Second Edition:Introduction

You're a poor farmer growing cotton in Alabama and the boll weevils are destroying your crop. You mortgage the farm to buy DDT, which you spray on your field, killing 98% of the pest, saving the crop. The next year, you spray the DDT early in the season, but the boll weevils still eat your crop because the 2% you didn't kill last year were resistant to DDT. You now have to mortgage the farm to buy DDT and Malathion; then next year's boll weevils will resist both pesticides and you'll have to mortgage the farm yet again. That's the pesticide paradox* for boll weevils and also for software testing.

The Pesticide ParadoxEvery method you use to prevent or find bugs leaves a residue of subtler bugs against which those methods are ineffectual.

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