Friday, April 20, 2012

Why Unix is better than Windows

Ever tried to fix a bug on a Windows system?

Like some program you need to run crashes out of the blue without leaving any notice why it did?

I happened to come across this a few times now, and I must say, I like Unix.

Because if this happens to me on Windows, I usually end up spending a lot of my time arguing with some guy at some support-hotline. Or send e-mails with crash-dumps and tons of other stuff. Or have them visit me.

And normally this costs a whole brick-load of Money. Unless the problem is actually a bug and a "luser-issue".

Under Unix this is slightly different.
If a program crashes I tend to use, they normally leave a crash dump by default. Or at least entries in some log-files.

If not, the program can be started with a verbose option. This should finally give a lead what went wrong.

An example: I had problems with one of my servers. This particular system was running an IRC-server (inspircd) and this program was updated recently. Only a minor change, nothing out of the ordinary.

At least it looked like one.

The service was unable to be started after this update. And for added fun, there where no log-entries, or crash dumps.

It just failed silently.

Until the debug mode was switched on. This revealed a missing module.

Closer examination of the package supplied by my distributions showed an option to enable this module. But the flag which should turn this option on, was never read by the package.

Creating my own package, while using the same source-code, I added the missing flags, and everything worked like a charm.

Conclusion: bug-report + patch went out to the maintainer of the package.

Try this with Windows.