Since September 26 I’ve been exclusively using Firefox Nightly builds. I noticed an annoying bug a few days ago. It was gone the next day. It occurred to me that I hadn’t noticed any other bugs. For months prior, I had used Firefox Aurora (roughly alpha) and don’t recall any bugs.
Since October 15 I’ve been using Debian Testing on my main computer. No problems.
For years prior, I had been using Ubuntu, and upgrading shortly after they released an alpha of their next six-month release. Years ago, such upgrades would always break something. I upgraded an older computer to the just released Ubuntu 12.04 alpha. Nothing broke.
In recent memory, final releases desktop software would often crash. Now, there are as many “issues” as ever, but they seem to be desired enhancements, not bugs. The only buggy application I can recall running on my own computer in the last year is PiTiVi, but that is just immature.
Firefox and Debian (and the many applications packaged with Debian) probably aren’t unique. I hope most people have the relatively bug-free existence that I do.
Has desktop software actually gotten more stable over the last 5-10 years? Has anyone quantified this? If there’s anything to it, what are the causes? Implementation of continuous integration testing? Application stagnation (nothing left to do but fix bugs — doubt it!)? A mysterious Flynn Effect for software? Or perhaps I’m unadventurous or delusional?