Monday, April 23, 2007

Cue the Singing Vikings

If my knowledge of $PortalCrap was water, a ladybug could die of thirst. I know that no one can describe it without a load of buzzwords and marketing phrases like "unified portal framework with an industrial strength foundation which includes flexible deployment architectures to drive maximum portal value at minimum cost" and "modular services which include search, collaboration, content management, and interaction management through extensions which expand the value and reach to provide solutions to a greater set of enterprise challenges. to help minimize risk and meet specialized requirements."

OK, but what the fuck does it do? Who knows? Who cares? The only thing that I know it does is hog the goddamned communications ports. It's a petulant child that wants all the candy. If it can't have ports 80/8080/443/8443 all to itself, it won't play. Load $PortalCrap first and we can't use standard comm ports. Load $OurBigApp first and $PortalCrap will refuse any SSL connections.

How do I know this? Because I spent days back and forth with some schmuck who told me that his system which had "no third-party apps" was still failing. It was like being in a Monty Python Sketch:

REC: So what system are you running?

Customer: Well there's UNIX and third-party software; UNIX, $YourBigApp and third-party software; UNIX, $YourBigApp, database and third-party software; third-party software, $YourBigApp, database and third-party software; third-party software, UNIX, third-party software, third-party software, $YourBigApp and third-party software; third-party software, third-party software, third-party software, UNIX and third-party software; third-party software, third-party software, third-party software, third-party software, third-party software, third-party software, baked beans, third-party software, third-party software, third-party software and third-party software; or a five-rack Beowulf cluster of high-end blade servers with a petabyte of RAID-10 storage running a homogeneous mixture of supported UNIX flavours, database, $YourBigApp and third-party software.

REC: Have you got anything without third-party software on it?

Customer: Well there's third-party software, UNIX, database and third-party software. That's not got much third-party software on it.

REC: I don't want any third-party software!

With Ethereal logs I was able to see what was happening and managed to get this guy to reproduce it, but only by promising him that we would indeed also install the spa... I mean, third-party software. Which then broke the system. The fix: he can have the spam... dammit! He can have his $PortalCrap as long as he installs it somewhere other than on any server with $OurBigApp.

Because a lot of our customers use spa... I mean, $PortalCrap, I wrote a Notice. Last year. When prodded, our Doc Manager sends out another request for approval every few months. She did so for this Notice last week.

My Notice is simple and complete. It describes the problem seen, fully explains the cause, and even provides the solution, all in fewer than 300 words. Comes the reply from the Product Monkey responsible: I don't have enough knowledge in this area to comment one way or the other.

You don't need to know it, you fuckwit! You're supposed to know it but you don't need to! Everything's right there in the Notice! Just OK the goddamned thing and we won't get another customer submitting another ticket because spam is causing spam to break whenever spam is installed on spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam...

x-posted to HuSi where there's a poll.

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