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Why does so much software suck?

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Garry Tan describes an experiment with rats in which one rat can control its environment (of electric shocks!) whereas the other cannot.

The one with the power to control its environment learns to cope, whereas the one that cannot control its environment gradually eats less and less as his body deteriorates and develops stomach ulcers.

Garry uses this experiment to describe software:

Our users, like the rats in Weiss's experiments, are subject to electric shocks of both mild and severe intensity. Bugs and poor user experience are the daily shocks.

Garry says we should use our powers of software wisely:

When we write software that sucks, we are (consciously or not) pressing a red button that makes people feel powerless, helpless, and ultimately makes their lives worse. As creators, it's our responsibility and our duty to make our users happy. Software creators are an optimistic lot and we love to focus on the positive impact the things we create can have on society and other people. If Weiss's experiment teaches us anything though, it's that this power cuts both ways. Wield it well, friends.

Microsoft taught the users of the world to tolerate substandard software.

But I don't want to live in that world. I want to live in a world of great software.

So why does software consistently suck? Is it because it's never "done"?

(Especially compared with hardware, which is built into a finished product.)

Where does the World of Great Software exist? And is it populated with Aliens?

so.... we should link our Hudson/Jenkins/CruiseControl install to electroshock collars?

Essentially, yes.

Microsoft taught the users of the world to tolerate substandard software.

this is more true than anything....

That, sadly, is Microsoft's legacy.

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