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RE: CVS corrupts binary files ...

From: Paul Sander
Subject: RE: CVS corrupts binary files ...
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 2004 19:34:25 -0700

>--- Forwarded mail from address@hidden

>[ On Monday, June 28, 2004 at 11:00:23 (-0400), Jim.Hyslop wrote: ]
>> Subject: RE: CVS corrupts binary files ...
>> Any manual procedure is prone to error. I prefer to automate things as much
>> as possible, to minimize the possibility of human error. Any time I see a
>> manual process, I wonder how it could be automated.

>While I will agree in part, I'll also point out that even NASA sill uses
>paper checklists.  :-)

I know people who work for NASA, and I know people who have worked for
NASA in the past.  They have a saying at NASA:  "It was good enough to
get us to the moon, so it's good enough for this."  Twenty years ago,
they really meant it.

When you speak about how great NASA is and mention the antiquity of some
of their processes, remember that the paper checklists have since
contributed to the failure of several missions (some of which missed
entire planets) and the loss of 14 lives.

Also remember that a modern wristwatch carries more computing power than
the spacecraft that orbited and landed on the moon, and a modern cell
phone has more computing power than the whole of NASA had in those days.
In a time when mission critical software was only hundreds or a few
thousands of bytes in size, it could be managed with paper checklists.
Today that is no longer the case, at least not unless you're willing
to tolerate a much higher level of risk.

So NASA is learning that what worked well in the past may not necessarily
work well in the future, maybe not even today.  Reliability is the order
of the day, and it turns out that reliability of a given procedure varies
inversely with the number of fingers poking it.  And today that saying is
spoken in jest.

>Perhaps it would be instructive for those grappling with the
>complexities of build systems, and version control integration, and
>other components of a complete software configuration management system
>to examine the likes of NetBSD's build system.

NetBSD is awesome!

But keep in mind that the reason they can do what they do is that they
literally own the entire environment, from the OS and system libraries
on up.  Yes, they have to build cross environments, but after they've
built the cross compiler twice the runtime environment of the build
system really doesn't matter as long it can schedule CPU time and access
files.  Most of us don't have that luxury.

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