Phil Agre’s most recent set of notes and recommendations is fascinating as always. Most interesting in this dispatch is the discussion of how a company’s quality of service can be too high from an economics standpoint, and how that creates technology risk. Anyone who uses consumer software knows that software companies understand that their customers don’t expect or pay for perfection, and thus, they don’t spend the resources to strive for it. Microsoft Windows, the Mac OS, and Netscape Navigator (to name three popular examples) are and have been full of bugs. The reason open source software is, for the most part, reliable when it matures is that the people who work on it have no reason not to try to squish all of the bugs. On the other hand, commercial software publishers know that people pay for features, not bug fixes, so that’s where they expend their resources. (His rant on the dangers of public relations is fabulous as well.)