Unnecessary Modification

Well after sitting in what I thought was blissful silence for emails all weekend long, I logged in to Gmail to check on a site registration I'd setup earlier in the week. Well, I sure wasn't expecting an angry rant about how I never reply to my emails on time! Nope, not because I don't actually check Gmail much, but because someone had sent it to the Arthmoor server and it sat unnoticed all weekend. The reason? Dovecot had refused to start after rebooting the Linode.

The kicker is, as has been a constant annoyance with using Linux over the years, is that Dovecot didn't refuse to start because of some genuine bug or some typo on my part. Nope, turns out that an update that had been downloaded recently (Dovecot 2.0 for those interested) had made massive changes to the format of their configuration files. Oh yes, you Linux users out there probably already know this pain. For it seems to be a massive systemic viral infection of the entire Linux developer community. The format changes to the configuration file rendered my old one, which worked last week, entirely worthless today. Why?

Why indeed. As it turns out, the changes being made were entirely cosmetic in nature. Someone appears to have gotten the brilliant idea that there needed to be more complicated looking blocks of commands to use to configure the server with. Plus an entirely new subdirectory filled with child config files that all bear the same cosmetic "upgrades". None of this was necessary in the slightest. The server application was doing just fine the way it was before. The change was entirely unnecessary and for all intents and purposes, nobody said one word about it to potential victims clients of this upgrade. IE: Me, and a whole lotta folks on Google who went looking for the error message to find out what the fuck happened.

This isn't the first time something like this has happened either. Back when I still had servers running here at the house, Fedora pulled something like this with one of their OS updates. The format and layout of something to do with the /udev/ directory changed. This is roughly the equivalent of the Windows Registry when it comes to hardware setup. Some of you may remember the slight panic that ensued when the OS update didn't go as planned and neither system would reboot because some idiot suffering from ADD couldn't leave things that were already working alone.

Yet, the real facepalm moment comes when you hear Linux developers whining that nobody is adopting their systems. Yeah, I can only imagine why that might be. When you change the underlying systems and how they work every 6 months and don't care if you break something, nobody will trust their business with your software. Microsoft may be a shitty developer with an even shittier license structure, but even they know not to completely fubar your network for you whenever it suits them. Stop with the unnecessary modifications to your code already. There's not a damn thing wrong with it now, and the people using your products don't LIKE having to fix things that weren't broken before!

"It is pointless to resist, my son." -- Darth Vader
"Resistance is futile." -- The Borg
"Mother's coming for me in the dragon ships. I don't like these itchy clothes, but I have to wear them or it frightens the fish." -- Thurindil

Well. I guess that's that then.

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Posted on Jul 11, 2011 2:15 am by Samson in: | 1 comment(s) [Closed]
Yeah they all do it. We've been running Ubuntu and things have been pretty stable, but once again there was a recent update and we've got a bunch of errors now. We haven't bothered looking into them yet because fortunately they only mean some processes which we're not using right now aren't running.

Windows has their share of this stuff though - especially if you're stupid enough to run some of their so-called enterprise products. And then they charge you for the privilege of reporting a bug.

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