reboot to fix

Appart from its historic value, “The Hacker Crackdown” is full of gems, like:

Starting over from scratch will generally rid the switch of any software problems that may have developed in the course of running the system. Bugs that arise will be simply wiped out by this process. It is a clever idea. This process of automatically re-booting from scratch is known as the “normal fault recovery routine”.

So you see this was not Bill’s idea in the first place.

Personally I hate reboot-to-fix. Rebooting must be a final(?) solution which in fact not only puts the problem under the carpet, but also deprives one of the possibility (and sometimes data) of finding out what the cause of the problem is. It is performed under pressure, under hurry and usually with no data at hand to replicate the problem and study it in a test environment and with some peace of mind. “Make the danm thing work first; find out what happened later! We’re losing money!” Downtime is an option and so routers and servers get reloaded… I will not sit in an ivory tower though pointing fingers, for I’ve practiced this “problem solving” technique a number of times.

Reboot-to-fix comes with a price: While at times it seems like a time saver, it only pushes forward in time the manifestation of the problem. At a later (and more inconvenient) time. And then it stops looking like a time saver. And if doing the same thing over and over expecting different results can be considered as a sign of paranoia, reboot-to-fix is just another sign of that.

Update: Some 12 days later, Paul Venezia wrote “When in doubt, reboot? Not Unix boxes“. Cool stuff!

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