The Evolving Law of Software Quality: Where Do We Stand Now?Cem Kaner, JD, PhDProfessor of Software Engineering, Florida Institute of Technology
About the Topic
Most of us are involved in developing software that other people will use. We also use software that other people developed. Contract law applies when people outside your company use your software (or you use theirs). Contract law also sets expectations for software used internally within a company. So what rules does contract law set for us regarding software quality?
State and federal legislatures tried to develop software-focused contract laws beginning in the late 1980's, but after 12 years of work, the deeply flawed legislation failed with all but two states rejecting it. Still there are lawsuits where judges decide cases whether or not there is a well-focused law for software quality. To meet this need, the American Law Institute (ALI) wrote the Principles of the Law of Software Contracts. ALI is made up mainly of judges and tenured law professors. Dr. Cem Kaner was elected to ALI and worked on the Principles, which provide the best guidance available to the judiciary. The laws governing software create the context that we work in. They can provide a basis for arguing that software defects must be fixed or disclosed to the customers and for deciding that a product or service is complete or should be considered satisfactory. There is good reason for IT senior leadership, project managers, marketing/sales managers, programmers, testers, and other IT professionals to know more about these laws for software quality.
About the Speaker
Dr. Cem Kaner is Professor of Software Engineering at the Florida Institute of Technology and Director of its Center for Software Testing Education & Research (CSTER). Dr. Kaner's core test-related interests focus on the cognitive skills of software testers, application of high-volume test automation techniques on hard to reproduce failures, and more effective ways to train software testers. CSTER is also funded to research the teaching of the law and ethics of software engineering, including work on malpractice, whistle blowing, and commercial contracts. Before joining Florida Tech, Dr. Kaner worked in Silicon Valley for 17 years as a software developer, manager, consultant, and attorney. He is the senior author of three books, Testing Computer Software, Lessons Learned in Software Testing, and Bad Software: What to Do When Software Fails. Dr. Kaner was recently honored with the "Person Who Made a Difference" award by the Association for Computing Machinery for promoting awareness of ethical and social issues in computing.