Brain Dead Software #1: Yast Online Update

Suppose a new employee came to work for you. They're asked to collect 20 items from the company warehouse. You come back at the end of the day to find they have retrieved only one of the items. When queried, they say, "Well, the warheouse didn't have the second item on the list, so I came back to see what you wanted to do about it." "OK, fine, where are the other 18 items, then?" "Oh, I didn't try to get those. I needed to ask you about the second item, so I came back here." You'd be justifiably pissed off, and they'd probably be well on their way to getting fired.

Yast Online Update is that employee. If it encounters a problem with any of the packages you ask it to install, it sits there with a freaking dialog box on the screen doing absolutely nothing until you come back and tell it, "Look, just get on with the rest of the downloads already".

To be fair, this problem isn't specific to YOU - YOU just happens to be the most recent example I've encountered. When a computer program is given a list of tasks to do, and encounters a problem with one of them, it should look at the list and continue on with as many of the remaining tasks as it can. At the end, it can present a report detailing any problems encountered, and asking what is to be done about each of them. With Brain Dead Software like YOU, I can't just leave it to run overnight - chances are it will only do useful work for a short while before some glitch causes it to twiddle its thumbs for the rest of the night, waiting for me to wake up and reassure it that everything is fine.

Anyway, that's Brain Dead Software - programs that do things that would get a human fired. I'm sure there'll be more entries in this category.


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