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Re: Robustness principle considered harmful

  • From: Forrest W. Christian
  • Date: Fri Feb 18 07:12:36 2000

On Fri, 18 Feb 2000, Jon Ribbens wrote:

> Not a particularly good rule anyway, if you ask me. (Which you didn't.)
> 
> It should be "be conservative in what you send, and conservative in what
> you accept".

Actually, my REAL opinion on this (based on several years of process
control - which MUST be reliable lest someone get killed) is this:

"Be conservative in what you send, and don't be surprised if someone else
sends you something you don't expect, and be prepared to deal with it".

or, in the process control world:

"Be very consistent (safe) in what you do, even when presented with bogus
data."

I think that was really the intent of the robustness principle.

But lest we get in to an argument and reduce the S/N ratio of nanog (if 
that is possible)... The real point of my message was this:

Using RFC1918 space in a net-visible manner is being liberal in what you
send and being liberal in what you send is not a good idea.  ESPECIALLY
when people are being conservative in what they accept.

Off-topic note:  It seemed like every chuck of process control code I
wrote ended up being something like "If it fails this way do this, if it
fails this other way, do this, if it fails in yet another bizzare way, do
this, and, if by chance it actually worked, do this."  90% of the code was
dealing with failure modes.  From my experience CGI scripting/network
programming tends to be about the same.

- Forrest W. Christian (forrestc@imach.com) KD7EHZ
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