[nSLUG] Looking for a DNS secondary partner

D G Teed donald.teed at gmail.com
Mon May 4 15:17:08 ADT 2009


On Mon, May 4, 2009 at 2:51 PM, Ian Campbell <ian at slu.ms> wrote:

> On Mon, May 04, 2009 at 10:52:19AM -0300, D G Teed wrote:
> > On Fri, May 1, 2009 at 4:46 PM, Ian Campbell <ian at slu.ms> wrote:
> >
> > >
> > > I don't think you need to be pure of heart to write good code, nor do
> > > I have the faintest idea what "self-serving" or "altruistic" means in
> > > the context of code anyway. For all his personal and personality
> > > defects, Reiser knew what he was doing.
> > >
> >
> > I don't know how much commercial code development
> > you've seen, but I have seen cases where there is a difference.
> >
> > Code developed for a product is often deployed in-house and enhanced
> > at first for in-house needs.  Later, as major customers use the beta
> > version (ahrm, I meant version 1.0), they make live or die demands on
> > features they need.  Sometimes, it will break features needed
> > for the in-house use, or in the least, lead to a great amount of
> > code bloat, or additional daemons to be present.  There is a difference
> > in developing code that "gets by" and code that will withstand
> > trouble and a broader range of deployments than one developer
> > could not anticipate.
> >
> > I can't say I can avoid running crappy code completely,
> > as some decisions are out of my hands.
> >
> > For example yum on Redhat, and their missing error checking code
> > (e.g. opens files without checking they exist - no error handler).
> > Spews useless python back trace.  Utterly pathetic stuff
> > any first year C.S. coder would know not to do.
>
> Maybe the person who wrote it doesn't know what they're doing. Maybe
> there are no unit tests, maybe there's no code review. Maybe they
> committed it at 3AM and never got around to testing it. None of those
> are particularly good, but I don't see it as a deep personal failing
> on the part of the yum guys.
>

I do think it is a professional failing.  yum is used in a professional
product or two, and given its critical role, I'd think they only allow
skilled coders to tackle its maintenance.  I doubt that many would see
lack of an error handler for such a simple and highly possible
error would be acceptable.  The discussions I saw around the
problem indicate the yum error handling and reporting has been
wanting for quite some time.  Spewing python tracebacks
is unfortunately the norm.  Maybe those guys are ex-tomcat
coders and think that style of error reporting is sufficient.

All of our production perl code has such an error handler and that's just
for us to use.   Same with opening a database connection in a scripting
language. You never write code that just assumes the connection was
successful.

None of this has anything to do with "self-serving" or "altruistic."
> Blessed are the pure of heart, but that doesn't mean they can code.
>

I never said anyone with a pure heart can code.  But if you are writing
open source software, I would hope it is developed with more
users than merely yourself in mind.  I would think it would go
naturally with being community minded and all.  But perhaps
for people with an ego to feed it doesn't.

--Donald
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