Eating your own dog food

Eating your own dog food , also called dogfooding , is a slang term used to refer to a scenario in which an organization uses its own product. [1] The idea is that the organization truly believes in its own product to be superior, it would use the product itself.


Dogfooding can be a way for an organization to demonstrate confidence in its own products, and a way to test it in real-world usage. Hence dogfooding can act as both quality control and a kind of testimonial advertising. [2] [3]

InfoWorld commented on this topic: “watered-down examples, such as auto dealers’ policy of making salespeople drive the brands they sell, or Coca-Cola permitting no Pepsi products in corporate offices … are irrelevant.” [4] In this sense, a corporate culture of not supporting the competitor is not the same as a philosophy of “eating your own dog food”. The latter focuses on the functional aspects of the company’s own product.

It is possible to have a better understanding of the reality of the product market, which can be used in real-life scenarios, [3] [5] . [5] In software development, dogfooding can occur in multiple stages: first, a stable version of the software is used with a single new feature added. Then, multiple new features can be combined into a single version of the software and tested together. This allows multiple validations before the software is released. The practice enables proactive resolution of potential inconsistency and dependency issues, especially when several developers or teams work on the same product.

The risks of public dogfooding, which can be reduced to a certain extent, can reduce the frequency of publicized dogfooding. [4]

Origin of the term

A fictional illustration of ‘eating one’s own dog food’ occurs in the 1939 P.G. Wodehouse short story The Go-getter , in which a character acting as representative of a particular brand of dog food eats a dog biscuit in order to demonstrate its “wholesomeness” . [6]

… the way we advertise this product, so rich in bone-forming vitamins, we are following: cookie and break off a piece and chew it. By this means we prove that Donaldson’s Dog-Joy is so superbly wholesome as actually to be fit for human consumption. Our demonstrator not only eats the biscuit – he enjoys it. He rolls it round his tongue. He chews it and mixes it with his saliva … And so does the dog. He masticates the biscuit. He enjoys it. He becomes a bigger and better dog. I will now eat at Donaldson’s Dog-Biscuit.

The Go-getter [7]

The editor of IEEE Software recounts that in the 1970s television advertisements for Alpo dog food , Lorne Greene pointed out that he fed Alpo to his own dogs. Another possible origin is the president of Kal Kan Pet Food, who was said to eat at his dog food at shareholders’ meetings. [8]

In 1988, Microsoft manager Paul Maritz feels Brian Valentine , test manager for Microsoft LAN Manager , an email titled “Eating our own Dogfood”, challenging him to increase the company’s product usage. From there, the use of the term spread through the company. [9] [10]


“Microsoft’s use of Windows and .NETwould be irrelevant for one thing: Its software project leads and on-line services managers have the freedom to choose.”

Tom Yager, InfoWorld [4]

In February 1980, Apple Computer Chairman Michael Scott wrote memo announcing “Effective Immediately”, “No more typeswriters are to be purchased, leased etc.” etc. We believe the typewriter is obsolete. convince our customers. ” [11] He set a goal to remove all typewriters from the company by January 1, 1981. [12]

By 1987, Atari Corp. was in the process of using the Atari ST throughout the company. [13]

In 1989, Donald Knuth published a paper recounting lessons from the development of his TeX Typesetting software, in which the benefits of the approach were mentioned:

Thus, I came to the conclusion that the designer of a new system should not only be the implementor and the first broad-scale user; the designer should also write the first user manual. The separation of any of these four components would have hurt TeX significantly. If I had not fully participated in all these activities, I would never have thought of them or they would have been important.

-  Donald E. Knuth , “The Errors Of TeX” [14]

The development of Windows NT at Microsoft has been challenged by Dave Cutler’s February 1991 insistence on dogfooding. Microsoft developed the operating system on computers running NT daily builds, initially text only, then with graphics, and finally with networking. It was initially crash prone, but the immediate feedback of code breaking the build, the loss of pride, and the knowledge of impeding the work of others were all powerful motivators. [15] [16] Windows developers would typically dogfood or self-hostWindows starting from the early (alpha) builds, while the rest of the employees would be more stable than MSDN subscribers. In 2005, Infoworld reported that Microsoft’s network operations center “showed quite a lot more than a reasonable amount of Windows, including servers, workstations, and edge security.” [17] InfoWorld argued that “Microsoft’s use of Windows for its high-traffic operations tipped many doubters over to Windows’ side of the fence.” [18]

In the mid-1990s, Microsoft’s internal email system was initially developed around Unix . When asked why, they moved to Microsoft Exchange . [19] In 1997, an email was known to the Bedlam DL3 [20], an incident that was made more difficult by Microsoft Exchange Server to avoid and duplicate emails and network down-time server, although dogfooding is rarely so dramatic. A second email storm in 2006 [21] was handled perfectly by the system.

In 1999, Hewlett-Packard staff referred to a project using HP’s own products as “Project Alpo “. [22] Around the same time, Mozilla has also practiced dogfooding under that exact name. [23]

When Time Warner merged with AOL in 2001, AOL’s email system was adopted by the new AOL Time Warner, resulting in lost emails and productivity. Use of the system was discontinued. [5] [24]

Government green public procurement that permits testing of proposed environmental policies has been compared to dogfooding. [25]

On 1 June 2011, YouTube added a license feature to its video uploading service allowing users to choose between a standard or a Creative Commons license. [26] [27] The license label was followed by the message (Shh! – Internal Dogfood) that appeared on YouTube videos lacking commercial licensing. [28] A YouTube employee who is tested internally. [29]

On March 23, 2012, the BATS Global Markets Stock Exchange Attempted to Go Public, using its own exchange for the IPO . Due to a disastrous glitch in the company’s trading systems, the IPO was a failure, and the company had to withdraw the BATS stock offering. [30] [31] [32]

Oracle Corporation Stated That as of October 2016 it “runs Oracle Linux with more than 42,000 servers [to] supporting more than 4 million external users and 84,000 internal users. More than 20,000 developers at Oracle use Oracle Linux.” [33]

Criticism and alternative terms

Forcing Those Who Actually design products to use and Rely on Them is Often thought to Improve quality and usability , purpose software developers May be blind to usability and May-have knowledge to make software Work That year end user will lack. [5] Microsoft’s chief information officer noted in 2008 that, previously, “We have been upgrading from a beta, not from production to disk production.” [34]Dogfooding can be viable, and it may be assumed that they may have reported the problem. Dogfooding may be unrealistic, and the product may not be used as intended. The process can lead to a loss of productivity and demoralisation, [5] or at its extreme to the ” Not Invented Here Syndrome”; ie, only using internal products. [8]

In 2007, Jo Hoppe, the CIO of Pegasystems said that it uses the phrase “drinking our own champagne”. [35] Novell’s head of public relations Bruce Lowry, commenting on his company’s use of Linux and , said he also prefers this sentence. [36] In 2009, the new CIO of Microsoft, Tony Scott, argued that the phrase “dogfooding” was unappealing and should be replaced by “icecreaming”, with the aim of developing products as “ice cream that our customers want to consume” . [37] A less controversial and common alternative term used in some contexts is self-hosting, where developers’ workstations would be for instance to get updated to the latest version of the software or operating system they work on. Developers of IBM’s mainframe operating systems have long used the term “eating our own cooking”.

See also

  • Prototyping software
  • Alpha test
  • User innovation
  • Self-hosting


  1. Jump up^ Miguel Helft (December 12, 2009). “Google Appears Closer to Releasing Its Own Phone” . New York Times . Retrieved 2009-12-12 . On Saturday morning, Google confirmed that it was testing a new concept in mobile phones, writing that it was ‘dogfooding’ the devices, an expression that comes from the idea that companies should “eat their own dog food”, or use their own products.
  2. Jump up^ “Microsoft tests its own ‘dog food ‘ ” . Tech News on ZDNet . Archived from the original on June 21, 2008 . Retrieved 2009-11-14 .
  3. ^ Jump up to:b Dvorak, John C. (15 November 2007). “The Problem with Eating Your Own Dog Food” . PC Magazine . Archived from the original on June 28, 2009 . Retrieved 17 May 2010 .
  4. ^ Jump up to:c Yager, Tom (2003-05-30). “If it’s good enough for Fido …” . InfoWorld . Retrieved 2013-06-15 .
  5. ^ Jump up to:e Ash, Lydia (2003). The web testing companion: the insider’s guide to efficient and effective tests . ITPro collection. Wiley. p. 17. ISBN  0-471-43021-8 .
  6. Jump up^ Wodehouse, PG “A Wodehouse Bestiary” . Google Books . Houghton Mifflin, Boston: 1999, page 241 . Retrieved 4 December 2017 .
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  8. ^ Jump up to:b Harrison, Warren (May-June 2006). “From The Editor: Eating Your Own Dog Food” . IEEE Software . IEEE. 23 (3): 5-7. doi : 10.1109 / MS.2006.72 .
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  11. Jump up^ “Apple Memo – No Typewriters” . . Retrieved 2 January2015 .
  12. Jump up^ Ditlea, Steve (1981-10-01). “An Apple On Every Desk” . Inc . Retrieved March 6, 2011 .
  13. Jump up^ Friedland, Nat (March 1987). “Today’s Atari Corp. | A close-up look inside” . Antic . p. 30 . Retrieved 4 July 2014 .
  14. Jump up^ “The Errors Of TeX”, SOFTWARE-PRACTICE AND EXPERIENCE, VOL. 19 (7), JULY 1989, pp 622
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  16. Jump up^ Zachary, Pascal G. (2009). Showstopper! the Breakneck Race to Windows NT and the Next Generation . E-reads / E-rights. p. 135. ISBN  0-7592-8578-0 .
  17. Jump up^ Rist, Oliver (29 December 2005). “The Microsoft machine churns on” . InfoWorld . Retrieved 17 May 2010 .
  18. Jump up^ “If it’s good enough for Fido ..”
  19. Jump up^ Cringely, Robert X. (August 14, 2000). “Microsoft forgoes eating dog food in a favor of Unix as Bobby sneaks a burger” . InfoWorld . Retrieved 17 May 2010 .
  20. Jump up^ Larry Osterman (8 April 2004). “Me Too!” . Microsoft Exchange Team weblog . Microsoft.
  21. Jump up^ “It’s Bedlam all over again …” Larry Osterman’s WebLog. September 18, 2006
  22. Jump up^ Field, Tom (15 August 1999). “Unleash innovation” . CIO . Retrieved 17 May 2010 . Note: Alpo is a brand of dog food.
  23. Jump up^ “15927 – [BETA] [DOGFOOD] No proxy authentication” . . Retrieved 2017-02-08 .
  24. Jump up^ Stellin, Susan (May 16, 2001). “Clash Cultures as AOL Switches to Its E-Mail” . The New York Times . Retrieved 8 August 2013 .
  25. Jump up^ Johnstone, Nick (2003). The environmental performance of public procurement: issues of policy coherence . Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. ISBN  92-64-10155-1 .
  26. Jump up^ Peterson, Stace (2 June 2011). “YouTube and Creative Commons: Raising the Bar on User Creativity” . The Official YouTube Blog .
  27. Jump up^ LaPine, John (2 June 2011). (Shh! – Internal Dogfood) – YouTube Introduces Creative Commons Attribution License ” . . Retrieved 2 June 2011 .
  28. Jump up^ “YouTube – Copyright Education – Creative Commons” . Retrieved 1 June 2011 .
  29. Jump up^ “YouTube Help Forum” . Retrieved 2 June 2011 .
  30. Jump up^ Olivia Oran; Jonathan Spicer; Chuck Mikolajczak; Carrick Mollenkamp (23 March 2012). “BATS exchange withdraws IPO after stumbles” . Reuters . Retrieved 24 March 2012 .
  31. Jump up^ Bremner, Brian (23 March 2012). “The Affair Bats: When Machines Humiliate Their Masters” . Bloomberg Businessweek . Retrieved 24 March 2012 .
  32. Jump up^ Rooney, Ben (23 March 2012). “BATS Global Market shares are halted after IPO – BATS: Well, this is awkward” . CNN . . Retrieved 24 March 2012 .
  33. Jump up^ “Frequently Asked Questions – Oracle Linux” (PDF) . Oracle Corporation. October 2016.
  34. Jump up^ Sperling, Ed (15 December 2008). “Eating Their Own Dog Food” . Forbes . Retrieved 17 May 2010 .
  35. Jump up^ “Pegasystems CIO Tells Colleagues: Drink Your Own Champagne” . Trendline on . Retrieved 2007-07-05 .
  36. Jump up^ “Novell comments on its transition to Linux desktops” . DesktopLinux. Ziff Davis Enterprise. 13 April 2006. Archived from the original on 16 June 2011 . Retrieved 17 May 2010 .
  37. Jump up^ “Microsoft CIO has a mission to make ice cream out of dog food” . TechFlash. November 10, 2009 . Retrieved 2010-05-02 .

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