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Maybe Later

The Agonist has decided that the Drupal upgrade isn’t ready for prime time at the moment and have reverted to version 4. Been there and done that – looks swell with the test data, but you start loading the real data and it’s one disaster after another.


1 Kryten42 { 12.29.08 at 4:20 am }

Yeah! Tell me about it!! I haven’t even turned on my Dev system since Xmas day, and I just went to do some work… and I get a wierd Apache error! 😐

Apache 2 is starting ...
apache.exe: Syntax error on line 481 of E:/xampp/apache/conf/httpd.conf: Syntax error on line 7 of E:/xampp/apache/conf/extra/httpd-xampp.conf: API module structure 'php5_module' in file E:/xampp/apache/bin/php5apache2.dll is garbled - expected signature 41503232 but saw 41503230 - perhaps this is not an Apache module DSO, or was compiled for a different Apache version?

Apache could not be started!

Now I gotta figure out what the heck that actually means (and you can be certain it’s not what windoze thinks it is, it never is!) Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!! Gates is the Antichrist!

I haven’t changed a thing! And it was working for weeks. *SIGH*

Meeehhhhhh! Good thing I don’t live in the USA right now. I’d suddenly feel the urge to go hunting! I’m sure I can find someone in the black market to get me my old faithful Steyr IWS2000. Ahhh… That beauty solved many problems once upon a time. 😉 Might be a tad conspicuous though. 😀

2 Kryten42 { 12.29.08 at 8:40 am }

Well… Seems like my mystery error above was yet another Apache bug! Rel. 11 just came out, and I installed it and no more problems. That’s about 6 updates in 2 months! Considering that Apache HTTP server powers over 75% of the web… That’s seriously scary. The update also forced me to run several mySQL db *REPAIR* statements! 🙁

I wonder what the bozo’s there are smoking… and can I get some? 😉 LOL

As if life as a developer weren’t hard enough already. *sigh*

3 Bryan { 12.29.08 at 10:44 am }

Funny that you should mention an error with Apache 2, Kryten, because one of the errors that appeared as I was checking on the progress of The Agonist was an Apache 2 server error instead of the front page.

They may be looking at the wrong program for the solution, i.e. trouble-shooting Drupal scripts for an Apache bug, it wouldn’t be the first time something like that has happened.

I leave the development system alone until after I have my software working, then I synchronize with the client’s system before delivery to avoid a failure on first load, which always freaks out clients.

As for Apache, most shops don’t upgrade until there is something they need, because there is always the possibility that some other software was dependent on the “bug” that got “fixed” to work. Most of the TSRs that worked with early versions of MS-DOS used a lack of “garbage collection” by DOS to stay resident in memory. They had to scramble for an update when MS finally fixed the sloppy code.

It’s funny how expensive “free software” can get when you start including the time spent by individual developers to deal with its idiosyncrasies.

4 Steve Bates { 12.29.08 at 10:54 am }

Kryten, IIRC, “Apache” was originally an intentional pun: it’s “a patchy web server.” Those last six updates are simply helping to uphold the family tradition, so to speak. 😆

5 Bryan { 12.29.08 at 11:03 am }

The “family” has spawned a lot of “cousins” that don’t necessarily get invited to Christmas dinner because they don’t play well with others.

6 mapaghimagsik { 12.29.08 at 2:21 pm }

I’m glad other people worry about my web server, and I can focus on comics.

7 Bryan { 12.29.08 at 2:29 pm }

I was happy to do that as long as the other were actually looking after things, but then they started doing upgrades that definitely weren’t convenient for me, and made changes that interfered with what I wanted to do, so I left.

The responsibility is a PITA, but the control is nice.

8 Frederick { 12.29.08 at 2:33 pm }

I was really surprised Crooks and Liars went the Drupal route…

9 Bryan { 12.29.08 at 2:56 pm }

The problem with Drupal is the administrative overhead. Corrente is at version 6 and they are constantly having to tweak something, or patch something, or reinstall something. You really need someone ready to supervise the system to use it effectively, and there is a lot of down time.

That isn’t my idea of blogging, i.e. something I do when I’m waiting for something else to finish, or I need to vent. If you blog to release pressure, having an aggravating platform is not the way to go, no matter how many bells and whistles might be in the box.

10 Badtux { 12.31.08 at 3:10 am }

I tried Drupal and it works great. I loved it. But as you say, it is a maintenance hog. If I were a pro and had a full time staff to keep the damned thing up and going, I might run it again. But I spend too much time on these blasted computers anyhow. That’s why I let blogger.com handle my blogging software. So far, so good… they haven’t lost any of my posts and the occasional issue seems to get fixed fairly quickly.

My personal web server runs Debian Stable. Obsolete, and reliable as dirt. At work I typically run whatever version of Apache ships with the version of Centos/RHEL that our software release is certified on. Red Hat has done a very good job with their RHEL updates of not breaking things, as good as Debian as long as you stick with one version of RHEL. Yeah, you’re running obsolete software for four years. And that’s a problem… why?

One of the things I have to keep on our China team about is *not* upgrading to the latest/greatest version of everything. For example, they ran into an issue where the version of Python provided with RHEL5 didn’t support something they wanted. They proposed upgrading to a newer version of Python. I put my foot down *hard* on that nonsense. The only thing we install are official packages and security patches from Red Hat. Period. End of discussion. And even those get carefully scrutinized — I have them look at every patch to see what is different between the old version and the new version to make sure it won’t break anything. Our software is certified to run on a specific OS, and while it might seem cool to upgrade pieces of that OS willy-nilly, the end result is nothing but mess and we don’t want to go there unless we have absolutely no choice (which has been the case sometimes — such as when I backported the RHEL4 bridge support to RHEL3 because one of our customers needed bridge support — but it isn’t something we do lightly). As someone who’s been doing this sh*t for over 25 years now I know the dangers of willy-nilly software upgrades from sad experience, but the newbies just out of college need some convincing with a limp herring to the face before they get it. So they just have to work around the limitations of the hoary old OS we’re using because that’s all they’re going to get. Heh.

Yeah, I’m a mean penguin sometimes :-). BTW, Linux sucks. The problem is, everything else sucks even more :-).

– Badtux the Linux Penguin

11 Bryan { 12.31.08 at 9:57 am }

There are too many people in the world who don’t understand the concept of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Windows is the worst for breaking software that runs and provides what is needed.

I have written a lot of “core business” software, programs that are essential to the business, not set decoration. When it breaks because of an upgrade, I have to work until the problem is resolved, because the business is dead in the water until the software is running again.

Trying to convince people to avoid the “latest and greatest” is the biggest challenge there is when people have convinced themselves that they have to have the newest technology to show they are a forward thinking company.

If there is a security concern, I upgrade, otherwise, forget it. There are enough things that are broken and need fixing to tie up my time, I don’t need to go looking for trouble.

12 Badtux { 01.01.09 at 1:22 am }

My brother still has some SCADA systems in the field running DOS 6. Except because DOS 6 won’t run on modern hardware, he’s actually running it inside VMware virtual machines on real hardware. For true. This is for major public utilities! They literally will not replace a machine that’s out there on the line until it dies, and even then won’t upgrade the software, they require the new machine to run the exact same software. Which it does, thanks to the miracle of virtualization :-).

Hard to believe he coded all that stuff over 15 years ago now and it’s still running and doing exactly what it’s supposed to be doing. A small city gets its water and hundreds of thousands of people get their power courtesy of 15 year old software running on simulations of 15 year old computers. Wow. Needless to say he prefers his newer software running on modern Windows variants, but these folks truly are taking “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” to the logical extremes :-).

13 Kryten42 { 01.01.09 at 1:51 am }

Almost all Mining Companies (I have a friend who is a senior project manager for one of the biggest) use DOS in the field and refuse to budge. He said they will even go buy 2nd hand old PC’s if they have to. 🙂

I did a contract in the late 90’s for a large utility organization. At the interview, I was asked if using DOS would be a problem for me. I laughed and said “That would be a pleasure!” To which the guy interviewing me (who turned out to be the chief engineer, their HR people couldn’t handle the interviews properly) said “Really? The last thee people said it couldn’t be done.” And I said “How old were they?” And we both laughed and I got the job. 🙂 It turned out to be very easy because I could reuse code I’d written over the years. 🙂 They still use it as far as I know.

14 Bryan { 01.01.09 at 12:57 pm }

If you have a lot of human interaction with the program, a graphical interface and the attendant overhead can can be justified, but when the program is actually hardware intensive with minimal I/O the GUI is a drag on performance.

I have a client who is still using an application written for dBASE II on a Kaypro under CP/M. It’s now compiled with Clipper and uses dBASE III files, but the core source code hasn’t changed. The output is fed into other programs as pure ASCII text, so the graphics and formatting side can be done with any program they want.

I’m working on converting it to something more contemporary, but I’m not sure they’ll like it, because the office people are still typists and don’t like pointing devices.

In certain fields, like engineering, there are liability problems if they change things. You have to have confidence you are getting the right answers.