Longest-standing bug?

This topic was created by diodesign .

  1. diodesign Silver badge

    Longest-standing bug?

    A minor cookie-handling bug in the KDE libraries since 2002 has now been fixed. This surely can't be the longest-standing code flaw? Anyone know of any more, perhaps even bugs allowed to stand because it would be impossible or unwise to fix?


  2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    For NDA reasons I can't say where...

    but I'm currently having to write bug-compatible code against original Z80 code from 25 years ago...

  3. Neil Alexander

    And people say...

    ... that the open-source desktop is the future.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And people say...

      Indeed, because Windows and OS X have no long-standing bugs of a minor nature. They are all fixed within 5 minutes of being raised and patches released.

      Oh wait, no they're not.

      1. Neil Alexander

        Re: And people say...

        Aw hell, someone forgot to cancel the Anonymous Coward's sense-of-humour-ectomy!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: And people say...

          Gets ridiculed on t'internet.

          Tries to pass inane, anti-freedom drivel off as joke.


    2. dogged

      Re: And people say...

      @Neil Alexander -

      Only because linux on the desktop is clean, uncluttered, beautiful, smooth and bereft of chromey crud.

      Or not, as the case may be

      (Yes, these are extreme examples but they're also funny).

  4. Irongut Silver badge

    Bugs in Linux are fixed faster than closed source because of the eyeballs. Oh yeah.

    1. plrndl

      Bugs in open source software are typically fixed in a time-frame that corresponds to their severity. This was obviously not hyper-critical.

  5. Test Man


    Considering its backwards-compatibility nature, I'm pretty sure there'd be a raft of bugs in there that haven't been fixed in decades.

    I can already think of one - the WMF vuln that was fixed in 2006 but existed since Windows 3.x - which was first released in 1990.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows?

      Or maybe the "maxiodatachunksz" constant which was used for splitting all IO requests since the glorious days of the first version of Windows NT - which was initially set to 64K, and never changed until Windows Vista. Ever wondered why your hard drives have these huge memory caches?


  6. Pierre Castille

    Year 1900 Compliance

    In the run up to the Millennium I checked a range of software to see if it could handle the previous century update. Most software that was date sensitive reported that the year 1900 was a leap-year.

    It would be interesting to see if any of this non-compliant software remains in use.

    1. The BigYin

      Re: Year 1900 Compliance

      C'mon, Excel still can't be made to read certain date formats out of a CSV.

    2. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Year 1900 Compliance

      non-compliant software

      Yes, I can see that one being a really big, fat, hairy deal when the year 1900 rolls around again.

      For older systems using 6-digit dates, I call that "expected behaviour"[1]. None of the test cases I saw for date handling around Y2K time had your idle curiosity as a consideration.

      [1] Take two-digit year and divide by 4. Truncate the result to an integer and compare to the "full" result. If the same, it's a leap year. Known to screw up 1900 and 2100, but for the overwhelmingly vast majority of use cases this is not an issue. Even slightly. Important bit is it works for 2000, which is the only millennium late 20th-century software is ever going to see go past.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    "Any complex software package harbours all sorts of long-hidden bugs, some of which are probably never identified and fixed."

    You know, whenever I try this reasoning on a Linux-booster with regard to a problem in some other OS, it gets shot down. Strange. Must be some misunderstanding.

  8. Zaphod.Beeblebrox


    I have the *ahem* pleasure of being the maintainer for a suite of applications written in Turbo Pascal. One component, comprising roughly 250k lines is written in TP 3 and has never been "updated" to TP 7 due to the length and complexity (I seem to recall several estimates that it would take something like two man-years to do). In any case, there is a minor bug in one of the core routines that was written in about 1992 that the senior developers determined couldn't be fixed without said rewrite. So, we are now in roughly year 20 of this bug with no real hope of it ever being addressed. And yes, the code is still in use in hundreds of systems. Fortunately, the bug surfaces so infrequently it isn't *that* big of a deal, but it does take some effort to deal with when it does.

  9. gerryg


    Yes, I've been using KDE since 1999, no I've never experienced this particular bug. (Don't get me wrong, there have been others...)

    For me the point of the story is that the bug was noticed by someone with the skills and inclination to fix it. He didn't have to sign an NDA or otherwise trip up on someone's licence. He just fixed it.

    1. Chemist

      Re: KDE

      "I've never experienced this particular bug."


  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It trashes the cookies?

    How the hell can this NOT be a "feature"? I have Chrome set to trash the cookies every 5 minutes - makes the webernet run much smoother.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Bugs can exist undetected for a long time if they produce the required effect most, or even all, the time.

    We once moved an OS to new, but compatible, hardware. Rough testing had shown it would work. However when the official version was used - it kept misbehaving. The reason was that the OS filename had now been changed, for administration purposes, from "AAGJ1000" on the old hardware - to "AAKJ1000" for the new hardware. The third character was being mistakenly addressed as a flag byte for something totally unrelated. The required bit in the letter "G" had previously always steered the code down a proven path - but was reversed in the letter "K".

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wednesday

      How in Christ's name did you ever find that one?!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wednesday

        "How in Christ's name did you ever find that one?!"

        When you are young in a new industry you do not to know that something is supposed to be "impossible". The system malfunctions - and it's your job as System Support to alleviate, diagnose, circumvent, and fix the bug in the developers' code or hardware - pronto. Usually such elusive bugs are found by a combination of serendipity, luck, and lateral thinking. It helps to have an obsession with trying to understand how other peoples' software/hardware designs "actually" interact - rather than how they all think it "should" work.

        When I look back on some of my bug diagnoses it is amazing that I found the root causes in a short elapsed time. Many times it was a case of tripping over a pointer to the right answer whilst pursuing the "obvious", but wrong, answer. Unofficially I was the "lucky rabbit's foot". When all the specialist experts had failed to find the cause - then it was given to me. You don't learn that aptitude - but it takes a lot of practice to hone the talent.

        BTW the title of "Wednesday" was meant to refer to a similar "wrong address location" bug - but I couldn't remember all the convolutions of that one.

  12. jake Silver badge

    Misc. bugs from the MS/PC-DOS 0.96 pilot build's command.com ...

    ... still exist in cmd.exe in Win8.

    DYOFDW :-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Misc. bugs from the MS/PC-DOS 0.96 pilot build's command.com ...

      Wasn't this an urban legend originating in the CP/M battle?

  13. naw

    Y2K bug must've been 30+ years old and *everyone* knew about it...

  14. PeterM42

    Has no-one mentioned......

    ...the Windows Registry.

    If ever a long-standing bug needed stamping on, the whole concept of the registry must surely qualify?

    Goes along with the concept that an application needs to be "installed" to the operating system. Applications should be separate from the OS for security reasons.

    Not being independent is why OSs (particularly Windows) are open to malware. The OS should be COMPLETELY UNMODIFIABLE by any application. And as for DLLs - HELLO!?!?!?!?!? If you want a different subroutine, keep it IN your application, DON'T go modifying ones belonging to the OS.

    This may all take up a bit more disk space but it would dramatically reduce malware.

  15. koolholio

    Services that run on port 445's according to SANS ISC... has varied though according to the graphs...


    1. fluffybunnyuk

      os/360 from 1964 still isnt patched for y2k....

      cmon ibm help us out!

      1. jake Silver badge

        Yes, but os/390 has been. Kinda ...

        http://www.slack390.org/ ;-)

        I very much wish that I had the time to contribute to the product.

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