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by: Bernard Teo

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Bernard Teo
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Fri 02 Jan 2004

Talked Too Soon

Category : Commentary/talkedtoosoon.txt

I found a bug that prevented SMTP-AUTH from working properly on the server. It took all of four hours to trace it to an extra character in a config file. How did it get there? Fortunately, I had a working installation I could compare against, after I've exhausted all the tests by logic. It was so hard to find. (But it's now fixed in Postfix Enabler 1.0.6.)

Reminds me of the place in "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" where Robert Pirsig wrote :

"The real purpose of scientific method is to make sure Nature hasn't misled you into thinking you know something you don't actually know. There's not a mechanic or scientist or technician alive who hasn't suffered from that one so much that he's not instinctively on guard. That's the main reason why so much scientific and mechanical information sounds so dull and so cautious. If you get careless or go romanticizing scientific information, giving it a flourish here and there, Nature will soon make a complete fool out of you. It does it often enough anyway even when you don't give it opportunities. One must be extremely careful and rigidly logical when dealing with Nature: one logical slip and an entire scientific edifice comes tumbling down. One false deduction about the machine and you can get hung up indefinitely."

(I found a link where you can read most of the book on-line. I love this book. I think I've had at least two of them that I've given away for others to read. I'll have to buy another because I think I'll want to read it again.)

So, it's New Year's day and I'm fixing a stupid bug. My wife thinks it's not worth it. I felt sorry for the kid, who was waiting to go to the park. Fortunately I had enough daylight left to make good on the promise.

Posted at 5:34AM UTC | permalink

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