“The NSA is doing so well because software is bullshit”. Everything is broken.

Someone pointed out recently that no matter how many steps and lengths that you go to to keep your email secure and away from the threat of corporate snooping and worse by free email providers, it doesn’t really matter because any email correspondence that you have is likely to be with people that use gmail or similar solutions and so the correspondent’s email will be in the system regardless of what you have done to protect yourself.

I thought of this when reading, ‘Everything is Broken’ a blog post by Quinn Norton, who has done as good a job as anyone of describing where the community of makers and users of software (i.e. pretty much everybody) are  today.

“Software is so bad because it’s so complex, and because it’s trying to talk to other programs on the same computer, or over connections to other computers. Even your computer is kind of more than one computer, boxes within boxes, and each one of those computers is full of little programs trying to coordinate their actions and talk to each other. Computers have gotten incredibly complex, while people have remained the same gray mud with pretensions of Godhood.

“Your average piece-of-shit Windows desktop is so complex that no one person on Earth really knows what all of it is doing, or how.” Quinn Norton, Everything is Broken. (Well worth a considered read).

Everything is broken, because everything is connected and multiple connections mean that software interacts in unexpected ways. In a world of hyper-connected  software, you can only be as strong as the weakest link at best.