Article: 178447 of talk.bizarre
From: (Neil Dewhurst)
Newsgroups: talk.bizarre
Subject: Problems With Elseware
Date: 1 Dec 1994 08:59:48 GMT
Organization: University of Essex
Lines: 104
Message-ID: <3bk3a4$>
Reply-To: (Neil Dewhurst)
Status: O

I haven't been able to think of anything to write for Fail To Suck Day, so
instead I thought I'd share with you the difficulties we've been having with
one of our software suppliers.

Sorry about this. Neil.

- - - - - - - - - -

>From Tue Nov 29 11:20:12 1994
From: Neil Dewhurst
Date: Tue, 29 Nov 94 11:20:11 GMT
Subject: OS Upgrade
Status: R

Dear Derek,

We installed the OS upgrade you sent us yesterday, and while it fixed the prob-
lem with the SCSI chip, there's now something else.

(By the way, the /etc/rc files are a bit strange. There's this, for example:

	if [ -f /etc/maxwelld ]; then
What is "maxwelld"? It's swallowing up huge amounts of CPU time, and I can't
seem to kill it. There's no man page entry.)

The problems started immediately after we rebooted. Nobody could log in. We
finally got one machine up in single-user mode, and it turned out that all its
files had migrated to the /tmp partition.

What's more, they'd been very heavily compressed: down to a single byte in some
cases. But when we copied them back, they were intact!

We've noticed some other things, too. The process clocks seem to be running at
different speeds, and some are running backwards. That isn't a feature, is it?
And there's a problem with sendmail: it won't ship messages with non-null
bodies out to users on other machines. Incoming mail seems to work okay,

I'd like to know what's going on, please.


P.S. I am forwarding a copy of this email to my supervisor.

- - - - - - - - - -

>From Wed Nov 30 09:39:46 1994
From: Neil Dewhurst
Date: Wed, 30 Nov 94 09:39:45 GMT
Subject: Re: OS Upgrade
Status: R

Dear Derek,

Thanks for replying so promptly. If you say the "bugs" I mentioned are in fact
features I'll have to take your word for it, but you understand they're not
necessarily what we - or anybody else, I think - are looking for in an operat-
ing system.

I have never heard of "X Industries", and cannot see how Elseware's arrangement
with them in any way invalidates your contractual obligation to supply us with
usable software.

By the way, another "feature" we spotted - "/usr/include/math.h" defines M_PI
to be 3.000 . (I take it this is in fact a typo.)


P.S. I am forwarding a copy of this email to the University's solicitors.

- - - - - - - - - -

>From Thu Dec  1 09:00:11 1994
From: Neil Dewhurst
Date: Thu,  1 Dec 94 09:00:11 GMT
Subject: Re: OS Upgrade
Status: R

Dear Derek,

Further to yesterday's email. We've been noticing some strange effects around
the office. I came in this morning and found all the books on my shelf had
spontaneously rearranged themselves in alphabetical order. When one of my col-
leagues made himself a cup of coffee, it kept getting hotter and hotter until
it burned a hole through his desk.

The monitors and the strip lights have all taken on a reddish tinge. And you're
not going to believe this, but things weigh less inside the office than they do
outside. (Yes, I'm sure. I borrowed a set of bathroom scales and checked.)

Derek, what have you done?


P.S. I am forwarding a copy of this email to Arthur C. Clarke.

= = = = = = = = = =
Neil Dewhurst		  University of Essex