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Said of software that is functional but easily broken by changes in operating environment or configuration, or by any minor tweak to the software itself. Also, any system that responds inappropriately and disastrously to abnormal but expected external stimuli; e.g. a file system that is usually totally scrambled by a power failure is said to be brittle. This term is often used to describe the results of a research effort that were never intended to be robust, but it can be applied to commercially developed software, which displays the quality far more often than it ought to.

Opposite of robust.
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1. Descriptive of a material which fractures under low stress without appreciable deformation.
2. Descriptive of a paint film unable to withstand stretching or scratching without breaking or becoming otherwise deformed.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

software brittleness

Old software that has been patched so many times that even small changes to the source code make the program fail. The term stems from metal that has been worked and reworked so often that it becomes brittle.

The term may also refer to software that was designed with very little error checking or a rigid set of assumptions that are no longer valid. In such cases, variations of input may cause the program to crash. See patch and spaghetti code.
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References in periodicals archive ?
A team consisting of Hitoshi Aonuma, Daiki Wakita, and Yumino Hayase studied the green brittle star Ophiarachna incrassata, a starfish-like aquatic animal found in tropic and sub-tropic oceans of the Indo-Pacific region with typically five and occasionally six arms.
Nicole McLaughlin presented her original set of four red-clay plates to the Brittle Bone Society at its HQ in Dundee, where she is studying illustration at Duncan of Jordanstone College of art and design.
The problem with carbide was that it's extremely brittle and if dropped on concrete shatters like glass.
HYDERABAD -- Brittle asthma is a rare form of severe asthma and the term 'brittle' means difficult to control, brittle asthma is also called unstable or unpredictable asthma because it can suddenly develop into a life-threatening attack.
These results indicate that the tensile property changed from ductile to brittle with increased C[O.sub.2] pressure, although the molecular motion is accelerated due to the plasticization effect of C[O.sub.2].
As co-ordinator for the Brittle Bone Society, she sorts and then sells the stamps to help raise money for the charity.
Weight-bearing exercise is the greatest preventative of brittle bones as it's the muscles pulling on them that makes sure the constant process of bone renewal takes place in the way it should.
For the dark chocolate mousse: 4 medium eggs 120g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) 4 tsp unrefined golden caster sugar For the white chocolate mousse: 225g white chocolate 90ml double cream 2 egg whites 225ml whipping cream For the peanut brittle: 550g refined white caster sugar 120ml corn syrup or golden syrup 120ml boiling water 40g unsalted butter 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 250g unsalted peanuts Maldon salt Extras: Silicone baking sheet or baking parchment Sugar thermometer A little shaved chocolate, for garnish Method: First, let's make the peanut brittle; set out your diced butter, bicarb and peanuts as you'll need them in a hurry when the caramel is ready.
Emmanuel Barrios'winning dish: Baguio peanut brittle pina colada made of coconut dacquiose, pineapple jam, coconut mousse and Baguio peanut brittle
For rock engineering, understanding the deformation behavior of brittle rock is much necessary due to the important influence on brittle rock characteristics and the safety of rock engineering.