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May/June 2006 (vol. 23 no. 3)
pp. 5-7
Warren Harrison, Portland State University

Back in the 1980s when actor Lorne Greene served as the pitchman for Alpo dog food, the TV commercials were careful to point out that he indeed fed Alpo to his dogs. So, the idea that someone would use the products they were making became known as "eating your own dog food." An alternative explanation for the term I've heard is that each year the president of Kal Kan Pet Food would eat a can of the company's dog food at the annual shareholders' meeting.

Regardless of its genesis, the software industry has adopted the phrase to mean that a company uses its own products. Somewhere along the line, the noun "dog food" appears to have morphed into a verb. It's said that Microsoft has aggressively adopted the concept of dogfooding, at least within its development groups. Likewise, the Eclipse development group will tell you that they all use Eclipse as a development platform and therefore "eat their own dogfood."

There are many markets and applications where dogfooding might indeed be possible. The question is, should we care?

Citation:
Warren Harrison, "Eating Your Own Dog Food," IEEE Software, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 5-7, May-June 2006, doi:10.1109/MS.2006.72
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