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software rant -1

Last night the cameras on our Polestar briefly ceased to function while my wife was driving the car with the message "camera temporarily unavailable".  They were working again on their own later in the evening without any action required from us.  However, this is clearly a software problem, and it just shouldn't happen. 

The particular issue we saw is not unique to us or Polestar; it has also been seen on the Volvo XC40 and probably derives from Android Auto.  I've also seen problems on my Android phone after the update version 12 as well as with Roku.  Despite this clearly being a software problem the phone is headed back to Google after many hours of troubleshooting both online with obtuse Google reps and slightly more efficient local fix shops that Google employs.  The Roku devices are out of warranty, resulting in similar interactions where support was seemingly aware of widespread issues, but would not explicitly confirm or deny anything, and ultimately provided no recourse.  Last year I wrote about the Log4Shell vulnerability, and the ongoing saga proves that these vendors are extremely poor custodians of the software they derive so much benefit from.

Anyone who purchases a device should have the right and be provided the means to control the software on it, full stop.  I am well aware that most won't want to pay attention to the details, but many might at least like control of when manufacturer software on their device is updated, and have the ability to roll it back back to the prior version if something doesn't work.  Software vendors unilaterally breaking people's devices is simply not acceptable, ever.  Applying the right to repair to software is common sense and the right thing to do.  Such a change would eventually break the business models of companies like Google, which is a risk that most investors ignore at their peril.