30 September 2008

Bus test

A recent questioner in the CentOS forums complained about the decision to carry older versions of Unix network services, rather than the 'latest and greatest'.

That person said the package was:
> dead stable
as though it was a criticism. CentOS is not and will never be anything but boring, predictable, and dead stable.

The use case was:
> it will be used as an email server for a small business
without any rationale on why a later version is needed. Security matters are backported, as part of the CentOS upstream's approach on an Enterprise grade operating system. CentOS dutifully issues said updates after a quick trip of a SRPM through the build process (trade mark elidement, signing, and other validity checking; announcement), and sends it off to the 'updates' mirror network, for yum to find.

One goal of consulting for third party clients is to hold costs down and yet meet requirements. Anything more, and the consultant may be learning, but the client's best interest is not being served.

Either the client is being charged while the consultant 'plays', or if not being charged, their business is (unknowingly) being used as a 'crash test dummy' venue for such exploration. Not good.

Consider the 'bus test':

What happens when a bus sideswipes the consultant, who is then out of commission for a month during recovery? [I know of other formulations of the 'bus test', of a more gruesome nature, but they are not needed for this hypothetical ;) ]

By forking as little as possible, nothing bad happens to the client.

Seems like a win to me.

Now, where did my coffee cup disappear to?