on the edge

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Greg Black

gjb at gbch dot net
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If you’re not living life on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.

FQE30 at speed

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Worthy organisations

Amnesty International Australia — global defenders of human rights

global defenders of human rights

Médecins Sans Frontières — help us save lives around the world

Médecins Sans Frontières - help us save lives around the world

Electronic Frontiers Australia — protecting and promoting on-line civil liberties in Australia

Electronic Frontiers Australia


(Coming soon…)


(Coming soon…)

Software resources

GNU Emacs


The FreeBSD Project

Wed, 01 Mar 2006

Somebody please kill all the Perl weenies

If ever there was a day when it was going to become unambiguously clear to me that all the “Perl programmers” need to be taken out and shot, today was that day.

Sure, go ahead and use Perl if it’s the only hammer in your toolbox and you just need to whip up a quick personal script and can’t be bothered learning how to do things properly and haven’t got the time or money to get somebody else to do it properly. But please, all of you, just stop writing big programs in Perl and passing them off as serious software.

My specific beef today is with the complete barking idiots who are responsible for SpamAssassin. Not only do they introduce command line incompatibilities for no good reason, but they make it barf over no-longer-supported options in such a way that a message gets delivered containing only the contents of the SMTP MAIL FROM and RCPT TO commands. No headers, no body, and no sign that there’s a problem. How utterly stupid.

And then, when the command line is fixed, it barfs because the new version uses some alternate database storage for its Bayes stuff. And this barfage is even more brilliant. It spams the MTA’s logs with lengthy messages, but exits with a success code and this time outputs an entirely empty message.

Even a child could work out the appropriate failure modes for such a tool. But not those idiots.

After missing out on a chance to find out what was in the 350-odd messages that arrived while I upgraded my workstation, I can tell you that I was mightily pissed off. And it’s nice to see the Apache crowd have indeed brought something else into their fold that seems to match their approach to software. Be a shame if something good had wandered into that hole by mistake.