Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Tale of Woe

The engineering group I worked with at Cisco used some very expensive Unix-based software for chip design, circuit board design, and testing. My friend, Billy, was responsible for keeping all of this up to date and working.

To run properly, each of these programs required specific settings. Billy created individual wrapper scripts that would set program requirements and then run the executable. It was an elegant and well documented solution.

Just before Billy was to move to a completely different group, an engineer came to his office with a problem. This guy had cobbled together some hacks of his own rather than using the provided wrapper scripts. The unsurprising result was that he couldn't run the programs.

Billy listened patiently as the engineer told his tale of self-inflicted woe. When he had finally wound down a bit, Billy leaned forward and said in an almost conspiratorial tone, "It must really suck to be you." 

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