To get a trial key
fill out the form below
Team License (a basic version)
Enterprise License (extended version)
* By clicking this button you agree to our Privacy Policy statement

Request our prices
New License
License Renewal
--Select currency--
* By clicking this button you agree to our Privacy Policy statement

Free PVS-Studio license for Microsoft MVP specialists
* By clicking this button you agree to our Privacy Policy statement

To get the licence for your open-source project, please fill out this form
* By clicking this button you agree to our Privacy Policy statement

I am interested to try it on the platforms:
* By clicking this button you agree to our Privacy Policy statement

Message submitted.

Your message has been sent. We will email you at

If you haven't received our response, please do the following:
check your Spam/Junk folder and click the "Not Spam" button for our message.
This way, you won't miss messages from our team in the future.

The price of an error on the example of…

The price of an error on the example of one PVS-Studio issue

Dec 30 2019

We often write articles about software errors that we detect with our PVS-Studio static code analyzer. These errors are different: simple and complex, obvious and difficult to find, understandable and such, which require a few minutes of explanation. All these errors have something in common - the cost. We often have some disagreements with our readers about how high the price can be. Some say - what's the big deal that it's an error? We'll find it, we'll fix it. If we don't, we don't. Or a bit differently. Well the app will crash because of this error, no big deal. Let's restart and that's it.


I'd like to tell you a true story from our company's life. It doesn't really relate to static analysis, but it illustrates well the concept of the "price of an error".

On our site, we have the option to request a trial version. A person who got interested in the analyzer leaves a request using a certain form. After that, I immediately get a generated email, which gets to me with the specified information. If there are any additional questions in the email, I answer them. If not, an automatically generated email with a one-week trial key goes straight to the person. The answer is sent by mail usually within an hour from the request.

The algorithm is simple and working. There's a request form handler on the site, checking and sending mail use cron, so what can break here? However, on December 19, cron crashed on the server. It isn't really important why and we can't put a code fragment here anyway. I admit that there might be no error, just a bad configuration. But it broke. And emails with keys stopped being sent. At all...

As for me, I kept answering incoming questions that I was receiving. Still there were some conversations on support topics, though not that many as usually. Well, it's Christmas time - everyone is busy... I noticed the problem only on December 24, half a week later. Two users wrote that we don't respond to requests for keys. We immediately checked that and got horrified.

This incident cost me about 50 trial requests, which we haven't answered in time. We managed to get 50 users to our site thanks to marketing and advertising efforts but eventually couldn't handle them.

You might say: "Well, why don't you test sending mails from the site? It's an important part of the process!". Yes, it's important. That's why we do test it. "You probably send an e-mail in case of an error, but this time it wasn't sent?". No, we know that error handlers often contain errors, too. So we got creative. Every day at the same time, I'm getting an email that the mail works correctly. The last such email was on December 18. Unfortunately, I didn't notice that it stopped coming.

So what's the point of this small note? Mistakes (in programs, in their configuration, and just the human factor) lead to losses. If you can do something to reduce these risks, be sure to do it. For example, introduce a static code analyzer.

This whole case explains well the reason why in articles we often draw readers' attention to the importance of checking the results of functions, such as malloc. It's not normal when a program stops working (crashes), when something goes wrong. This is a denial of service (CWE-400). This is a potential vulnerability. By reducing their number, you reduce the risk of losses.

Popular related articles
The Ultimate Question of Programming, Refactoring, and Everything

Date: Apr 14 2016

Author: Andrey Karpov

Yes, you've guessed correctly - the answer is "42". In this article you will find 42 recommendations about coding in C++ that can help a programmer avoid a lot of errors, save time and effort. The au…
PVS-Studio for Java

Date: Jan 17 2019

Author: Andrey Karpov

In the seventh version of the PVS-Studio static analyzer, we added support of the Java language. It's time for a brief story of how we've started making support of the Java language, how far we've co…
Appreciate Static Code Analysis!

Date: Oct 16 2017

Author: Andrey Karpov

I am really astonished by the capabilities of static code analysis even though I am one of the developers of PVS-Studio analyzer myself. The tool surprised me the other day as it turned out to be sma…
PVS-Studio ROI

Date: Jan 30 2019

Author: Andrey Karpov

Occasionally, we're asked a question, what monetary value the company will receive from using PVS-Studio. We decided to draw up a response in the form of an article and provide tables, which will sho…
How PVS-Studio Proved to Be More Attentive Than Three and a Half Programmers

Date: Oct 22 2018

Author: Andrey Karpov

Just like other static analyzers, PVS-Studio often produces false positives. What you are about to read is a short story where I'll tell you how PVS-Studio proved, just one more time, to be more atte…
The way static analyzers fight against false positives, and why they do it

Date: Mar 20 2017

Author: Andrey Karpov

In my previous article I wrote that I don't like the approach of evaluating the efficiency of static analyzers with the help of synthetic tests. In that article, I give the example of a code fragment…
Free PVS-Studio for those who develops open source projects

Date: Dec 22 2018

Author: Andrey Karpov

On the New 2019 year's eve, a PVS-Studio team decided to make a nice gift for all contributors of open-source projects hosted on GitHub, GitLab or Bitbucket. They are given free usage of PVS-Studio s…
The Last Line Effect

Date: May 31 2014

Author: Andrey Karpov

I have studied many errors caused by the use of the Copy-Paste method, and can assure you that programmers most often tend to make mistakes in the last fragment of a homogeneous code block. I have ne…
Characteristics of PVS-Studio Analyzer by the Example of EFL Core Libraries, 10-15% of False Positives

Date: Jul 31 2017

Author: Andrey Karpov

After I wrote quite a big article about the analysis of the Tizen OS code, I received a large number of questions concerning the percentage of false positives and the density of errors (how many erro…
The Evil within the Comparison Functions

Date: May 19 2017

Author: Andrey Karpov

Perhaps, readers remember my article titled "Last line effect". It describes a pattern I've once noticed: in most cases programmers make an error in the last line of similar text blocks. Now I want t…

Comments (0)

Next comments
This website uses cookies and other technology to provide you a more personalized experience. By continuing the view of our web-pages you accept the terms of using these files. If you don't want your personal data to be processed, please, leave this site.
Learn More →