back to article AWS launches BugBust contest: Help fix a $100m problem for a $12 tshirt

AWS has set up a competition for its customers' developers to find and fix one million bugs. AWS CTO Werner Vogels on Friday introduced BugBust, which he described as "the world's largest bug bashing challenge." "Eliminate software errors and save millions of dollars using Amazon CodeGuru, and win prizes and glory in the …

  1. HAL-9000

    Gee sign me up now

    Am I the only one humming burning spears slavery days while reading this article, there appear to be no downsides for Jeff... Perhaps a lucky few get to join him for a ride to the edge of space. Hours stuck in a tin can, with only Jeff Bezos for company, I'd rather spend a day at Mar-a-lardo being Orange Twitlers caddy.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Gee sign me up now

      Hey, you might get lucky and be able to kick him out the airlock!

      Seriously though, I'd go to space with anyone, if they don't fart too much... or release Apollo 10 style floaters.

      1. HAL-9000

        Re: Gee sign me up now

        You make a convincing argument, seeing Jeff sucked into space is definitely a good outcome

    2. ShadowSystems

      Re: Gee sign me up now

      I can't believe you missed a chance to say "I'm sorry Jeff, I'm afraid I won't do that." =-)p

  2. Cinderellaphant

    There’s one born every minute

    Just when I though the user led support forums giving free tech Support on behalf of multi billion dollar corporations was a masterstroke, they one-upped by getting top talent to work for almost nothing based on pulling at their egos. Absolutely genius. I see why you make the bucks.

    1. Blank Reg Silver badge

      Re: There’s one born every minute

      Tally up all the prizes and it's not even a years salary for an Amazon engineer so it really is a good deal for Amazon if they find anything significant

    2. b0llchit Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: There’s one born every minute

      Soon you will have to pay a premium to fix their bugs! No good deed goes unpunished.

      No, really, working for money? Are you kidding? Being allowed to write software for Amazon and its affiliates is a privilege for a select group and will come at a premium. Amazon Prime Bugs will soon be going at a rate of hundreds of dollars per symbol fixed. You, the programmer, must pay. This is the new Amazon Fix 'n Pay strategy and will be rolled out throughout the world soon. Remember, dear coder, faster bugfixing will soon come at an even higher premium, just like Prime delivery.

  3. IceC0ld

    SO, if I read it correctly

    they get 1 000 000 bugs fixed for less than the cost of 1% of ONE DAYS profit

    and we get the proverbial finger

    may as well go the whole hog, and make the T say

    I fixed all the bugs and all I got was this lousy T shirt

    surely, it would be better all round to ascertain how much impact each bug has on their systems, and how much it will save, and allocate a decent % of that as the incentive to give it a go ?

    but there again, Amazon were never really known as the company that gives back :o)

    but they definitely know how to take ...............

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Indeed

      Amazon rakes in $90 million a day, and they're graciously promising $234,000 in bounties.

      Wow, that really makes my heart race.

  4. elregidente

    I've gradually become disillusioned with AWS/Amazon

    I've in the past found and reported two acutely critical bugs to AWS, directly to the devs for the product, who in one case had a fix out in about six hours (the other in the next patch release, I recall).

    I can't even think about how much damage was prevented.

    Response from AWS? zilch. Nothing. Nada. They don't have a bug bounty problem. I doubt they even know, beyond the devs who made the fixes, the information came from outside.

    I've found other bugs, which I've tried reporting to Support. That usually goes nowhere, even after months of effort; Support have a superficial understanding of the product, and don't seem to be able to much *think* for themselves you get rote and rigid responses. After six months of trying to explain one particular bug I gave up trying.

    I don't report bugs any more. It's costs me time and money to find them, they're problematic to report, and AWS either haven't thought about it, or expect them for free. In any event I assert by their actions - the lack of a bounty program, and the difficultly in reporting to Support - they do not take security and reliability seriously.

    Of course, Amazon *says* it goes - but what else are they going to say?

    Amazon also says the customer is the center of everything they do, and I've seen a number of large companies say that, and when a large company begins to say that, that's when it has *definitively* stopped putting the customer first.

    Trivial example : after one year, support cases are *silently* deleted. I had an archive of material I wanted to examine, to check for any interesting information, and when I went to them, half were gone. I contacted Support. They explained this is documented (it is - one sentence in a vast FAQ, below a question about finding AWS docs in Japanese), that there was nothing they could or would do, and closed the support case, without giving me the opportunity to even reply.

    You'd have to come away from that thinking they just don't care.

    I actually stopped using Amazon about a year ago, after El Reg produced a report on the working conditions in their warehouses.

    I stopped paying from AWS Support a year or two before that; Support for individual developers is almost free, there's a token charge only, but, I'm sad to say, Support wasn't worth *having*, regardless of the price. The Support was normally irrelevant, wrong, incredibly difficult to get anywhere and if you start to ask questions they don't want to answer, Support will *actively* misled you, so that you *think* you're being answered, when in fact what you're being told is incorrect *and they know it*. I was seriously unimpressed with that once I realised it was happening.

    1. elregidente

      Re: I've gradually become disillusioned with AWS/Amazon

      BTW, relating to customer-centric, I made a CCPA request for the data Amazon/AWS hold about me.

      It took *some months* to get it done, and what I ended up with was URL to a page *with more than sixty download links*, each one for a separate file.

      I explained this was not viable, and was told, in a one-line reply; "We're not going to do anything more than we have. We look forward to seeing you again at Amazon."

      I've chased up since then, also tried to make a fresh request, but now my emails are ignored.

      All I can say is that thank God Amazon *are* customer-centric. Can you imagine what would happen if they were not? :-)

  5. HildyJ Silver badge
    WTF?

    All I can say

    It's fortunate that Jeff is beyond shame. Anyone else would have quashed the prize scheme before it saw the light of day. No prizes would be less embarrassing.

  6. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
    Coat

    I fixed $100 mil Amazon bug and all I got was this t-shirt.

    I fixed $100 mil Amazon bug and all I got was this t-shirt

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: I fixed $100 mil Amazon bug and all I got was this t-shirt.

      But it is a premium tee shirt, it's getting five star reviews on Amazon.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I fixed $100 mil Amazon bug and all I got was this t-shirt.

      Yeah, this scheme is really pathetic.

      Many organizations don't pay bounties. I understand that. But if you have the resources of Amazon and you're going to make a big public announcement...

      When we first got our PSIRT into shape and began dealing with outside researchers in a consistent manner, we (the PSIRT members) asked for budget for a modest bounty program, and were turned down. Oh, well, I understand that; it's an unknown exposure, and legally complicated, and there are other issues (as Moussouris has discussed at length).

      But we always gave credit, in the form requested by the submitter, in the public fix announcement. And we were able to wrangle a little money for a t-shirt program. The t-shirts were personalized – they had the company logo and something about security on the front, and the CVE(s) for the bug(s) submitted by the recipient on the back. So at least the researchers had public acknowledgement.

  7. hitmouse

    Dear Amazon - there's a typo in your Kindle user interface

    Amazon Customer Service - have you tried rebooting your device?

    [actual event]

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Hey, they were close. Turning it off removes most UI typos.

  8. redpawn Silver badge

    We only dreamed of having a T-shirt when I was young

    We had to code 996 just to get an inch of thread and half of that was taken in taxes which we had to walk 50 miles twice a month to pay, up hill both ways in freezing rain. So consider yourselves lucky. Amazon is generosity Corpsonified!

    1. MalIlluminated

      Re: We only dreamed of having a T-shirt when I was young

      Man, that's rough. Microsoft graciously sent me an Internet Explorer "Midnight Madness" tee shirt for nothing. Now, which of us do you suppose had it worse?

  9. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Avoidance

    Isn't the competition a loophole so Amazon doesn't have to pay labour costs (and tax)?

    I thought it is illegal to hire people without paying at least a minimum wage.

    1. 142

      Re: Avoidance

      For a change, not this time!

      It's not Amazon's software that's being fixed. It's their customers' own software.

      They're just encouraging their customers' staff to use AWS-powered tools for bugfixing their codebase, and throwing hats and tshirts at them if they do.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Avoidance

        True. Amazon's software (CodeGuru) is being beta-tested and trained by victims volunteers. It will be fixed by Amazon developers, if it's fixed at all.

        Of course this is why someone at each customer organization has to manage the local program – otherwise there would be too many developers gaming the system (by injecting and then "finding" bugs), for the t-shirts and lulz.

        As it is the results will likely be pretty dirty.

  10. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Enjoy!

    There's a promotion for a bucket of vaseline on Amazon.

  11. GALVITRON
    Mushroom

    Got to love the idea

    I mean, what do I love more… the register (and I do really love you guys and girls) or the smart ploys by Amazon getting people to do work for free ( I don’t love this).

  12. trevorde Silver badge

    Top Level Prize

    A certificate of appreciation, stamped with Jeff's signature, in a handsome plastic frame. RRP $5.99 (shipping extra)

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