I just found this term https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_rot:

Software rot, also known as bit rot, code rot, software erosion, software decay, or software entropy is either a slow deterioration of software quality over time or its diminishing responsiveness that will eventually lead to software becoming faulty, unusable, or in need of upgrade.

And here https://www.techopedia.com/definition/22202/software-rot (notice their difference)

Software rot refers to the slow degradation in the performance of computer software. Such software shows diminished responsiveness, lacks updates, may become faulty overtime owing to changes in the operating system it is running on and thus may need upgrading.

I would assume software rot is not a term most people are aware of. But I can't think of a term to describe the situation of a slow deterioration of software quality over time although I guess many people experience that, e.g. IE, Window XP, facebook ? (just to name a few)

Has anyone coined a term for that? Besides, refactoring is a term, closed related to "Software rot" (to counteract that) most software engineer knows. So why there is no term for "Software rot" ?

BTW, I notice this similar question Who first used the term "bit rot"? asked 10 years ago. The meaning there is also slight different that software rot explained in wikipedia.

Bit rot, also known as bit decay, data rot, or data decay, is a colloquial computing term used to describe either a gradual decay of storage media or the degradation of a software program over time. The latter use of the term implies that software can wear out or rust like a physical tool.

  • 4
    You are asking for a "better" word. What are the criteria? Why are software rot, bit rot, code rot, software erosion, software decay or software entropy not suitable?
    – dubious
    Commented Aug 25, 2022 at 9:33
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    Software rot appears to be present also in tech dictionaries. books.google.it/… I don’t see the problem in using the expression.
    – user 66974
    Commented Aug 25, 2022 at 9:34
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    The definitions are not that different. The core idea is that performance and quality degrade. The root cause doesn't have to be a single thing. "Bit rot" seems to be used both for data and software.
    – dubious
    Commented Aug 25, 2022 at 10:40
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    I've often heard the term demo rot and software rot. I think from context these are clear, at least to a native speaker. This may be cultural habit from the places I've worked as opposed to a widespread phenomena.
    – jimm101
    Commented Aug 25, 2022 at 13:48
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    Even though it's not used often, I think the intent will be clear to most people in the industry. I don't think there's a better term, simply because it's not something that we talk about much. Much more common are software bloat and technical debt.
    – Barmar
    Commented Aug 25, 2022 at 22:33

1 Answer 1




Software obsolescence

  • This would benefit from your explanation of how these terms answer the question.
    – livresque
    Commented Sep 4, 2022 at 22:50
  • Obsolescence typically refers to something different, i.e. software going out of date, being no longer usable, or no longer supported.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Sep 4, 2022 at 22:59

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