Contact handles disappearing mysteriously from the whois database!

Michael Dillon michael at
Wed Apr 28 00:00:50 UTC 1999

On Tue, 27 Apr 1999, Randy Bush wrote:

> michael, you forgot the mandatory ad hominem attack on me falsely claiming
> that i had made a personal attack.  where is your contribution to nanog
> hypocrisy?  sheesh!  :-)

Damn! You're right. You arrogant fool! How dare you preach to us gods when
we all know you come from the same state as Bill Gates, the evuil Satan.

> to paraphrase dijkstra because i am too lazy to look up the reference,
> testing can demonstrate the presence of bugs, it can not demonstrate their
> absence.

Right again. However, the frequency with which there has been corruption
of whois data over the years makes it seem as though there is no QA in
place. Either that or the tools they use to do the job are the most
bizarre Rube Goldberg lashup you've ever seen. I tend to suspect a little
of both.

> > I also find it curious that there are no rollback procedures in place to
> > recover quickly from a bug in generating whois data.
> good point.  a possible explanation is that they changed the back end, and
> hence the front end.  while one might roll back the front end, the back end
> could be much more difficult as
>   o new updates had flowed in, i.e. can't just roll back, need to convert
>     the data back, and
>   o when people write database conversion code, they tend to think of it 
>     as one way, and do not double the cost by writing un-conversion code.

I have done database conversions many times in my carreer and while I have
always written the code to do a one way conversion I have also always made
provision for rolling back the database to a prior state even when that
meant logging transactions so they could be reapplied after a rollback.
Most of the clients I have done database work for rely on their databases
for the mission critical infrastructure of their business and cannot
accept failures like this. Where there is a will there is a way to prevent
buggy conversions from corrupting your database. 

> as i have said before, i would not want nsi's job.
> randy, who spent 20+ years in software development

If only they had a few people like you and I on staff, we would not be
discussing this now.

Michael Dillon                 -               E-mail: michael at
Check the website for my Internet World articles -        

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