Blog   Where Did The Bugs Come From?

Where Did The Bugs Come From?

By Kate Punova
10+
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Everyone knows what the software bug is. That’s a problem hiding somewhere in the code and spoiling the tester’s mood. Finding bugs in software testing is one of the core goals of any QA engineer. But why bug? Bugs can be cute (not in Australia, of course), so why problems with the software are called like this?

There are enough scientific articles on this topic, but we will try to explain everything in simple words. First of all, there is a cool story about a month which got stuck in a relay of Mark II, an early electromechanical computer. Because of this month, the results of the calculations were wrong. After this funny issue, Grace Hopper, a programmer working with that computer, and her colleagues started using the word “bug” to describe the problems which made their machines malfunction.

However, that was not the first time when someone used this word in this context. Another guy, Thomas Edison, used it long before Grace Hopper and her team. His story is not as memorable, but we will still tell it. So, he was working on a telegraph system, but something went wrong. There was a false break in the signal, so Edison built a special “bug trap” to isolate the problem. Later, he used the word “bug” a lot and made it rather widespread. Members of the electrical community also helped him. Thomas Sloane, an engineer, even gave the bug a definition. He described it as “a fault or trouble in the connections or working of electric apparatus”. The bug trap was defined as “a connection or arrangement for overcoming” the problem.

The word “bug” is still used, and nowadays it’s probably more widespread than Edison could ever imagine. And we guess it won’t become irrelevant until such things as software and testing exist.

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