Software Engineering Institute
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
June 1, 1999
Letter to the NCCUSL Commissioners
As the Director of the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon University, I wish to register our concerns with the Article 2B (UCITA) draft. We believe that it is fundamentally flawed. While others have raised legal issues, we have technological concerns.
The SEI was formed in 1984 by the U.S. Department of Defense to further the state of software practice in the United States. We work with all branches of U.S. government, industry, and academia and are now generally recognized as the international leader in software technology and practice.
The Article 2B draft assumes that software products are inherently defective and that the current quality practices in the industry will not improve. The history in other fields demonstrates that as a technology matures, the marketplace becomes more sensitive to quality issues. In fact, software quality is a growing concern to the user community, and software quality is an active current area of study. Considerable progress is being made.
Furthermore, modern engineering increasingly embodies complex logic in software. This is true of large military systems, modern automobiles, and even childrens toys. Based on cost and reliability issues, engineers decide whether to employ the products logic in circuits, permanent memory, or a removable device like a diskette. In any case, the logic is produced with software methods and its user behavior is identical. The 2B proposal, however, would treat the resulting products quite differently. The courts should not become enmeshed in engineering implementation decisions.
The Article 2B proposal makes no technical sense. We feel that it would inhibit natural market forces, damage users, and ultimately limit the health and growth of this industry. While we appreciate the efforts that have been made to produce the UCC-2B draft, we must urge you to oppose its adoption.
Stephen E. Cross
Director, Software Engineering Institute
Carnegie Mellon University