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SubjectRe: Availability of kdb
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"J. Dow" <jdow@earthlink.net> said:

[...]

> And for my severely depreciated $0.02 I am becoming concerned
> that these guys are more concerned about some macho ideal of
> generating programs while half crippled than about having things
> work properly and maintainably no matter what gets in the way.

The problem is that yes, debuggers are useful tools. But they are _not_
general-purpose tools, very far from it. Yes, I've found my share of bugs
in programs using debuggers. But by far (I'd say by some 10 times or so)
I've found more bugs by "working half crippled" (as you call it). I do
agree with Linus that people who rely mainly on debuggers for finding and
fixing bugs are on the whole bad programmers, I've had to deal with more
than enough students working that way and just applying random symptom
fixes until the program didn't crash anymore or even did finally pass a
(very limited) set of testcases. It is rare cases where a debugger is of
real help, and for a kernel even more rare cases than in the heaven of
userland programming, where no other thread messes up your variables, and
where execution is deterministic.

Please remember that Linus' workload is staggering as it is; if you throw
in 20 times as many patches as he gets today, of which 99% are bandaids
over the symtoms of the bug, nothing at all will get done.

> Art has flaws in it that have been painted over, often two or three
> times. I grew up with a giant painting of Beethoven along side the
> dinner table. It had been presented to my step-grandfather by
> the Leipzig Symphony Orchestra. It captured the brooding artist
> wonderfully. And in humid weather you could see his third hand,
> the one the artist didn't like and painted over.

Yep. linux-1.0 is long history. There might be a few lines of it
surviving somewhere in the current kernel...

> For all the zen meditation on code I begin to wonder how many of
> the fixes really are fixes or painted over features that didn't quite
> work out. It worries me no small bit.

Check the result: Does it feel like a cobbled up mess that just happens to
work by chance? AFAIKS, the result shows that Linus' development strategy
works extremely well most of the time. You might not like parts of it, it
isn't exactly politically correct, and isn't buzzword-compliant either, but
it works.

In the end, this is Linus' game. If you want to play, you'll have to pay the
admission price he sets. As it is GPL, you could fork the kernel, add a GUI
debugger to it, and open your own shop.
--
Horst von Brand vonbrand@sleipnir.valparaiso.cl
Casilla 9G, Vin~a del Mar, Chile +56 32 672616

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