Used to be, in the realm of software, that bugs would turn out to be features in disguise. Nowadays it more often goes the other way around: functions presented to us as features are revealed to be bugs. As part of Wired‘s 25th anniversary celebration, I have a piece on the history of the catchphrase “it’s not a bug, it’s a feature.” A taste:
A quick scan of Google News reveals that, over the course of a single month earlier this year, It’s not a bug, it’s a feature appeared 146 times. Among the bugs said to be features were the decline of trade unions, the wilting of cut flowers, economic meltdowns, the gratuitousness of Deadpool 2’s post-credits scenes, monomania, the sloppiness of Neil Young and Crazy Horse, marijuana-induced memory loss, and the apocalypse. Given the right cliche, nothing is unredeemable.
Photo: Nigel Jones.