Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Paging Doctor Jack

Jack works at $BigTelco. Jack is an administrator, and a rather clever one. No common sense, but his very teutonic pig-headedness accompanied by the tunnel vision of an advanced glaucoma patient has been the source of many woes for his company and ours. Jack is responsibe for tipping the scale in our decision to use vpd.properties for versioning information. He's very creative.

$OurBigApp has lots and lots of directories and in each one we have a text file with the version and patch level information. There are around 400 or so of these scattered throughout the massive directory tree. When trying to force a patch that didn't want to install because of a version number conflict, Jack decided to give our installer what it wanted to see. He wrote a little script to seek out each of these files and modify the version and patch number.

Once that was done he found the registry keys in which we also stored this information and changed them, too. The system was still running fine because the version information itself is immaterial to actually running the system. So Jack applied the patch and the system went very
pancake-shaped. It was on this day that he earned his nickname; Jack is without a doubt the software world's very own Dr. Kevorkian. Not only is he deadly, he doesn't ever learn.

That was then, this is now.

Dr. Kevorkian submitted a new ticket yesterday. It's patch time again:
We cannot install Patch $YourBigApp Configurator 3.6f on an existing 3.6h installation. Please see attached screenshot for the exact error message.

Strange how we don't let you patch a current software version "h" with an earlier, buggier version "f" that also happens to have a different database schema. This is not an attempt to backpatch the system. He only wants to patch out Configurator software.

Kevorkian's not going to like my answer and I shudder to think of his reply when he tells me the reason for trying to "patch" with an earlier version. He'll also have a Good Idea which he'll certainly believe is a Workable Solution and which he will implement despite all the mail I send him not only telling him not to do so but why not to do so. Unlike the situation with Enrique, what Jack wants to do is unsupported so I'm allowed to tell him not to do this.

The vpd.properties file is a lot harder to modify since it contains a hash. I have no doubt in my mind that Jack will work on figuring out how the hash works and modify it so that he can kill again.

Root Cause: 17-Fuckwit.
x-posted from HuSi.

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The views expressed on this blog are my own and
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and would also like to see the implementation of Root Cause: 17-Fuckwit.