Richard Bucker

The ultimate disaster recovery

Posted at — Apr 27, 2016

I’m watching a presentation on Camlistore from 2016 and it’s one I have seen before. I’ve also been watching “Fear of the dead” which asks me to think about a few different scenarios. But while Camlistore is meant to be storage for life or storage of life … given my life experience and code-life experience how much of this matters to me any more?In 30 years as a professional/journeyman programmer I have written millions of lines of code. Most of it belongs to my employers or customers but a good deal belongs to me. There have been countless experiments that I’ve used to learn, experience and experiment. But even as I think about all that code there is no way I would want to DR any of it in the short term let alone in the long term. On the other hand having copies of photos and videos would be handy and nice.However….In the case of a zombie attack and the end of days I do not think any of that is going to matter. Also, “we” know so much more now about programming and devices that if we had to reboot all of society I do not imagine that we would be looking at linux, windows or osx anymore.I suppose it would have been nice to see my answer to Microsoft’s DBCC interview question but at the time there was no way to capture that info; and the same could be said for the Amazon javascript text editor or card shuffling an dealing programs.I guess what I’m saying is that beyond the normal lifespan of a project and part way into it’s half-life just let it go. [a] you’ll spend more time reverse engineering it instead of rewriting a modern version. [b] frankly by the time you’re reached the half-life there has been enough attrition both personnel and cognitive that starting over is better for everyone.Which brings me to my final point. The absolute core of the “work” needs to be implemented in a very descriptive and easy to reconstruct DSL. And with relative deference to Donald Knuth and Literate Programming the challenge is that literate programming’s execution is difficult.PS: one thing to take from Literate Programming is code around the documentation instead of documentation around the code. I think the modern version of this a variation on markdown.