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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may also refer to software that was designed with very little error checking or a rigid set of assumptions that are no longer valid.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 ?
Peter, Anthony and Callum xx BRITTLES - ELIZABETH ANN, February 11, 2016.
Nieces Joanne, Christine, Louise and families - James, Ben, Lorri, Mia, Reuben and Felix xx BRITTLES - ELIZABETH ANN, February 11, 2016.
We Love and miss you forever Little Gary, Kelli-Ann and great-grandson Freddie xxxxx BRITTLES - ELIZABETH ANN, February 11, 2016.
Love from Nanny's Little Boy Jacob x BRITTLES - ELIZABETH ANN, February 11, 2016.
Mrs Brittle and her husband Colin were told their son would need a further operation to replace a leaking aortic valve at around the age of 13.
'It was my worst nightmare magnified a million times,' Mrs Brittle said.
On one car journey past the building, Mrs Brittle recalls her son asking: 'Mum, do you think I will ever get to Solihull School?'
'A lot of people including the headteacher didn't have the heart to take away his goal,' said Mrs Brittle.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that the first incident happened in the early hours of July 25 last year when Brittles, who was armed with a pair of scissors, attacked a security guard at student accommodation in South Hunter Street, in the city centre.
She managed to escape and went to her father's home and told how Brittles had "battered" her.
Karl Berry, defending, said that Brittles, who has a young son, had drink and drug issues but while on remand had shown a positive attitude to addressing his problems.
Peter Brittles has been sentenced to six years after battering his girlfriend and | |attacking a security guard