Debugging expert Undo Software has secured its first external round of funding. The round was joined by five investors from the UK early stage technology investment group, the Cambridge Angels. Undo Software was founded in 2005 in Cambridge, UK.
Undo Software has spent the last seven years developing and refining its tools that mean developers can (literally) fix bugs in minutes that may otherwise have taken weeks to find.
The company was founded in 2005 in Cambridge, UK, and had been “boot-strapped” by its founders until the first injection of external capital, announced today. The investment round was joined by five investors from the UK early-stage technology investment group, the Cambridge Angels. The money will be used to grow the company’s sales and to accelerate porting of UndoDB to new platforms.
Greg Law, co-founder and CEO of Undo Software says:
“I’m so excited to have such high calibre investors on board. Obviously, the injection of capital is great, and allows us to accelerate some very exciting developments (about which I can’t say much just now, but more to come soon). But the Angels bring so much more than money: the expertise, experience and contacts these guys bring is just invaluable. It’s all part of why Cambridge is such a great place to do a technology start-up.”
Peter Harverson, one of the investors, said:
“As software becomes ever more complex, advances in the development tools required are an essential element in assuring product quality and time to market. What excites me most about Undo’s technology is the huge productivity gains it can bring to software developers across so many vertical applications.”
UndoDB provides huge productivity gains to Linux developers by helping them hunt down bugs in just minutes that otherwise would have taken weeks.
Debugging may be the unglamorous side of software development, but it hugely dominates the process – bugs account for 80% of the cost of software development .
Reversible debugging (also known as replay or historical debugging) allows a developer to step or run an application backwards, and so quickly track down the root-cause of even the most difficult bugs. It has been one of the “holy grail” of software development tools research for the past two decades. There have been many implementations (including support built-in to the open-source gdb 7.0) but UndoDB is the first and only tool with the required performance to make reversible debugging of practical use on demanding, real-world applications. UndoDB is used today to debug some of the world’s most complex code, in pre-eminent research establishments and in fortune 500 companies alike.
UndoDB allows the entire program state to be wound back to any point in its execution history, yet records with a slow-down over native execution of just 70% (this compares with over 5,000,000% for some other reversible debugging solutions).
UndoDB integrates seamlessly into Linux developers’ existing tool-chains and workflows.
Jacob Rideout works on the KDE project. He says of UndoDB:
“I found the idea of the product amazing and a boon to my productivity. I already have been able to fix a deadlock that was driving me crazy for a week in only 10 minutes.”
Tavis Ormandy is an Information Security Engineer at Google. He says:
“Very impressed – a great piece of engineering … when I’m not using undodb I do find my self typing ‘bstepi’.”
Bugs are the dirty secret of the software world. Most developers spend most of their time finding and fixing bugs . Software projects are notoriously late, over-budget or cancelled; nearly always because the developers have drowned under the weight of the bugs. Undo Software provides developers with the tools to tame some of the most difficult bugs, in some the world’s most complex and demanding software.
Brian Kernighan and Rob Pike (inventors of the C programming language and the UNIX operating system) say in their book, The Practice of Programming:
“Debugging involves backwards reasoning, like solving murder mysteries. Something impossible occurred, and the only solid information is that it really did occur. So we must think backwards from the result to discover the reasons.”
If debugging software can be thought of as solving murder mysteries, then UndoDB can be thought of as CCTV for your code. The technology records everything that a program does (no mean feat considering modern computers execute billions of operations every second), and then allows the developer to wind backwards and forwards to see exactly what their program has done, and home in on incorrect behaviour. Features such as reverse watchpoints allow the developer to go immediately to where data has been corrupted, and then to see exactly how that happened.
In short, UndoDB means that bugs that would normally take weeks to fix can now be fixed in just minutes.
 NIST — Software Errors Cost U.S. Economy $59.5 Billion Annually
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