Bit Rot


Stuff made of atoms will rot. The forces that hold stuff together are not strong enough to preserve its organization against entropy and exploitation. Organization goes away.

Stuff made of bits will rot too. Software that works one day will stop the next. This is called bit rot, as if entropy were wearing away at the bits themselves. In fact the bits probably didn't change. Rather some decision made elsewere reversed some behavior that the bits required. Uninformed decision making creates bit rot.

Stuff made of bits is also accompanied by mental models internalized by developers. As the original team disperses, the internal model disperses along with it, and bits rot indirectly. --DaveSmith


Last edited December 1, 2002
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