Conway’s Law In Action

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. Yes, it can happen to Open Source, too. Though admittedly in this case it
    happens to be PHP, which it has to be said is the Visual Basic of the Open
    Source world.

    Here’s an add-on patch to try to harden PHP against various attacks
    <http://www.h-online.com/security/news/item/Spat-over-PHP-Suhosin-patch-943194.html>,
    which has never been accepted into the PHP mainline. The Debian PHP
    maintainers include it with their package. Turns out the patch has bad
    assumptions about memory page sizes built into it, which causes crashes on
    certain architectures. They try to get the author of the patch to address
    these issues, but he doesn’t. So they try to fix it themselves, in a way
    which, it turns out, negates most of the point of the patch. Which he,
    belatedly, discovers. And so the finger-pointing begins.

    So we have an inherently flawed attempt to fix holes in an inherently flawed
    language, leading to predictable consequences that arise when you try to
    patch up a complex system by adding more complexity, instead of addressing
    the root of the problems.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Mar 2, 2010
    #1
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