Bad advice on confirming the existence of bugs.

Mark S. Miller erights at
Thu Aug 4 15:57:03 UTC 2016

On Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 10:20 AM, Alex Vincent <ajvincent at> quoted:

> --
> "The first step in confirming there is a bug in someone else's work is
> confirming there are no bugs in your own."
> -- Alexander J. Vincent, June 30, 2001

I rarely comment on these incidental aphorisms, but this one is so wrong
that it is worth pointing out. You can confirm the existence of many bugs
  * demonstration via failing test case,
  * finding the bug,
  * having a plausible explanation for why it is incorrect,
  * writing a fix with a plausible explanation for why it fixes the
problem, and
  * demonstrating that the fix repairs the demonstrated test case.

However hard this is, it is vastly easier than confirming that there are no
bugs in your own code.

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