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Hubbard Asks FreeBSD Hackers To Rename EDOOFUS 119

MobyTurbo writes "Jordan K. Hubbard, on instruction from Apple, had to inform the freebsd-hackers list that the error, pointed to by the error message number named EDOOFUS, must be changed. Several interesting suggestions have been made in the resulting thread."
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Hubbard Asks FreeBSD Hackers To Rename EDOOFUS

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  • compromise (Score:3, Interesting)

    by elmegil ( 12001 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @04:59PM (#5958130) Homepage Journal
    EDFS seems like it's obscure enough to not offend, but true enough to the original sentiment to fly for those "in the know".
  • by greck ( 79578 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:02PM (#5958167) Homepage
    From the article, it doesn't seem like Apple actually asked Hubbard to do anything, nor does it seem like he's saying it "must be changed"... he's just proactively trying to solve a problem before it forks into a silly headache. No need to inflate the drama of the situation any more than it's already going to be.
    • What I find so damn funny is that "EDOOFUS" is a BIG problem for Apple, yet "die_you_gravy_sucking_pigdog()" is A-Okay with them.
      • With reason (Score:3, Insightful)

        by siskbc ( 598067 )
        die...pigdog() is a function, which all developers can completely ignore if they like but without forking. EDOOFUS is an error code that will have to be tested for quite a bit, without choice (well, unless you consider not error checking a choice). Therefore, it will be impossible to ignore DOOFUS without forking.

        It is damned funny. But I do think it at least supports his contention that he does, in fact, have a sense of humor.

  • by PD ( 9577 ) * <> on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:09PM (#5958258) Homepage Journal
    Obviously the kernel developers need OUR help to sort this sorry mess out. Everyone, please make a google news account ASAP and put your two cents in. If all of us together put our minds to it, and posted our opinions on that thread, I'm sure they would appreciate our help in solving this problem quickly and efficiently. Thanks.
  • by big_groo ( 237634 ) <> on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:11PM (#5958290) Homepage
    This is my favorite response:

    From: Michael Meltzer ( Subject: Re: A modest proposal for better errno values...

    View this article only Newsgroups: fa.freebsd.hackers Date: 2003-05-13 16:58:07 PST

    > #define EDOOFUS 88 /* Programming error */

    #define E370HSSV 88 /* Programming error */

    I think this one keeps the orinigal sprite of EDOOFUS, I will now crawl back into my cave :-)


    PS. For the non dyslexics try reading it upsidedown.


    • #define EUSERERR (EDOOFUS)

      There. That'll stop EDOOFUS from appearing in sanitized corporate source code...

      Until the day when...

      /*#define EUSERERR (EDOOFUS) -- was redundant */

      ... and all hell breaks loose in the software industry as builds break all over the place. Tee hee hee.

    • my (admittedly _not_ 1337) eyes could not decifer this particular instance of 1337 h4x0R 5p33k, could somebody more 1337 provide a 7r4n5147i0n?

      • Simple guided process:

        1. Print out the code in question: E370HSSV 88
        2. Take the page, and rotate it 180 degrees. Your page should now be upside down. If it is not, try random rotations until it is.
        3. The resulting error will work nicely whenever Microsoft attempts to misuse Apple software.


  • EUSERERR? (Score:4, Funny)

    by hackwrench ( 573697 ) <> on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:16PM (#5958348) Homepage Journal
    Sure, shift the blame from the programmer (/* Programming error */) to the user(EUSERERR)
  • This seems typical (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sentry21 ( 8183 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @06:26PM (#5959060) Journal
    I don't mean to troll - some of my best friends are FreeBSD users - but somehow, this sort of thing doesn't surprise me. In every circumstance I've ever tried (and believe me, I've tried), I've found FreeBSD coders to be somewhat... elitest. The assumption that anyone who makes a mistake is a 'doofus' doens't surprise me much at all. Oddly enough, though, this is exactly the sort of childishness that many lead FreeBSD team members accuse Linux of.

    Why not just change it? Why make it into an issue? Is this some kind of 'fight the man' issue? You'd think they'd have gotten an ego boost from Apple using their code - repeatedly - and by trying to work *with* the community instead of just taking and leaving.

    I tried FreeBSD because I thought it would be neat, and it was, until I had to ask someone for help. Then I went back to Linux. Unfortunately, they don't seem to realize that people are people too. Help is more useful than insults.

    • by cperciva ( 102828 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @06:34PM (#5959133) Homepage
      The assumption that anyone who makes a mistake is a 'doofus' doens't surprise me much at all.

      I think people are misunderstanding the purpose of this error. EDOOFUS doesn't mean "someone has made a stupid mistake" -- it means "*I* have made a stupid mistake". People aren't editing each others' code to add EDOOFUS; they're using it in their own code.

      Much better than simply writing /* this should never happen */ into your code.
      • But not as good as writing assert(0), or better yet assert(reason_condition_will_never_happen). I occasionally go on assert-spress in my own code, and it's quite enlightening.
        • No, it's not as good as using assert -- it's better.

          Returning EDOOFUS has the benefits provided by assert(0) -- it makes the problem apparent -- without the disadvantages. Since this is being used in cases where the offending data can be fixed safely, fixing it and reporting the error is much better than panicking the entire system.
          • I can't think of a situation like that which can't be described using existing constants. What does EDOOFUS provide that e.g. EINVAL and EAGAIN don't? And for that matter, if it's a fixable problem, why set errno at all (snprintf doesn't)?

            And the advantage assert has over pretty much everything is that assert always makes the problem apparent. You can ignore errno if you want. Of course assert isn't right for all cases, but usually "programmer error" means an error in the program; errno is most useful

    • I tried FreeBSD because I thought it would be neat, and it was, until I had to ask someone for help. Then I went back to Linux. Unfortunately, they don't seem to realize that people are people too. Help is more useful than insults.

      Well in my experience, after having used both Linux and BSD, I've found that no matter which OS you're using there are bound to be some really immature people who don't have the best social skills. So I dunno, switching OS's not based on merit or features but remarks you might h

    • by ctr2sprt ( 574731 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @07:11PM (#5959464)
      I got into a fairly huge debate [] on some Linux newsgroups on this subject. I suppose I should provide my background: I started with Linux back in the 1.0s, then eventually converted to FreeBSD at 4.4, which is where I am now. Many of the posters had interesting stories and comments on Linux source code, and some people (like me) had a problem with the... I don't know what to call it, kind of a snobbish anti-elitism (the elitism of people who hate elitists). My first post on the subject is where you start, in case you care which one is me.

      Basically the same discussion, and basically the same problems. Neither Linux nor FreeBSD are immune to this. I'm disappointed to see EDOOFUS in FreeBSD, but unfortunately, it's an artifact of the hacker culture. For some reason, we equate expressing ourselves with acting like children, and so the attitude works its way into our code.

      Anyway, I doubt anyone will find that huge thread interesting - watching someone beat his head against a wall is probably less fun than doing it yourself - but it certainly should show that Linux has lots of those people you seem to dislike.

      • Except that EDOOFUS means "I (the guy who committed this code to the kernel) made a mistake -- you should never have received this error."
      • I don't know what to call it, kind of a snobbish anti-elitism (the elitism of people who hate elitists).

        That means you are full of antidisestablishmentarianism, dude! (Yay, I finally found an occasion to use that word!)

        • Wrong. Antidisestablishmentarianism is opposal to the separation of church and state, which doesn't have a damn thing to do with this. Nice try, though.

          By the way, while the antidisestablishmentarianist movement has been dead for some time, someone recently brought it back with a movement called neoantidisestablishmentarianism. If, like me, you don't think neoantidisestablishmentarianism is a good philosophy at all, you can join my contraneoantidisestablishmentarianism movement and behave contraneoantidise
    • Were you trying to find help for something already well documented?

      I have used FreeBSD for many years, and have used Linux for many years. The Linux enthusiast community to me appears much more tolerant of people asking questions before RTMF (yes, RTMF).

      In FreeBSD most things are very well documented, and over the years I have noticed a tendency not to help Fs that don't RTM.
    • by lpontiac ( 173839 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @08:25PM (#5959978)
      I've found FreeBSD coders to be somewhat... elitest.

      Thing is, this isn't something that a coder slings at a user, this is something that a FreeBSD coder would see as a result of their own mistake.

      I'm a coder, and when I make a stupid mistake I'll call myself all manner of things when I figure it out. Then someone in the office will ask and I'll explain what I did, and they'll follow up with a Nelson laugh.

      It's all in good fun. The only reason for removing this error (aside from, as stated in the Usenet thread, some columnist wanker getting ahold of it and blowing it out of proportion) would be to never have a "stupid error" code thrown in your face when you do something.. really stupid. I'm not quite sensitive enough to think that's necessary.

    • It's so nice to know that the Linux community is free from elitism and other bad attitudes. Such a breath of fresh air in hackerdom.

      I mean after all, the freebsd-newbies list sends out a weekly messages saying to not post technical questions to the list. And what do the FreeBSD people do when someone posts a technical question to the wrong list after being repeatedly told not to? They tell the user not to! How rude!
    • It was your entire intention to troll. As the other replies pointed out, EDOOFUS is an error code indicating that the FreeBSD developer made a mistake, not the user.

      You response to this situation is colored by your unfortunate, yet anecdotal experience. What you don't realize is that people are people too, and you probably just asked an asshole for help.
    • I've found FreeBSD coders to be somewhat... elitest.
      Your criticisms are off base, because the EDOOFUS error can only arise if a FreeBSD kernel programmer screwed up. (And it's not one FreeBSD committer calling another a doofus; it's a committer calling himself a doofus.)

      Self-criticism is not elitist in my book. I suggest you show more restraint before impugning the professionalism of others.

  • Bike Shed reference (Score:5, Informative)

    by Karna ( 80187 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @06:50PM (#5959265)
    For those who are left in the dark, the bike shed [] reference is the following:

    16.19. Why should I care what color the bikeshed is?
    The really, really short answer is that you should not. The somewhat longer answer is that just because you are capable of building a bikeshed does not mean you should stop others from building one just because you do not like the color they plan to paint it. This is a metaphor indicating that you need not argue about every little feature just because you know enough to do so. Some people have commented that the amount of noise generated by a change is inversely proportional to the complexity of the change.

    More details at the link.

    • Thanks for the tidbit. This the second time I've ran into something interesting like this. "Bell The Cat" [] is another interesting bit I ran across almost a year ago.

      Anyway, I think the bike shed deal applies to the vast majority of posts here on slashdot. I wonder if there's another cool term to reference situations where people are clueless and should not comment, that would encompass most of the posts not handled by the bike shed.

    I think that many of the developrs on FreeBSD will look at this and laugh and it will get changed. Does anyone check errno anymore anyway (lol)

  • or (Score:4, Funny)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland@[ ] ['yah' in gap]> on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @09:22PM (#5960259) Homepage Journal

    No, it is not a troll. it reference tha outcome of something that happened between Apple and a certian astronomer.
    of course, if you are actually qualified to judge statemment about Apple, I wouldn't need this disclaimer. butthead.
    • Re:or (Score:5, Informative)

      by cant_get_a_good_nick ( 172131 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @11:35AM (#5964575)
      I laughed when I saw this, great reference.

      For those wondering, when the first group of PowerPC Macs came out, one of them (I think it was the 7100) was code named the Carl Sagan. Sagan protested this use of his name. Apple was pissed, it's just a code name. Someone renamed it to BHA, for Butt-Headed Astronomer.
      • Of course, he did have something of a point - the three machines were code-named Piltdown Man, Cold Fusion, and Carl Sagan.

        He first wrote an annoyed sounding letter to MacWEEK (who had revealed the code names) complaining about being associated with two well-known scientific frauds, which caused the whole BHA renaming thing in retaliation, which sparked off the lawsuit.

        You can't fault the judge for dismissing his case though - "One does not seriously attack the expertise of a scientist using the undefi
  • by jkh ( 3999 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @09:34PM (#5960312) Homepage
    It must be when a rather innocuous request to freebsd-hackers makes it to slashdot! Just to set the record straight, I didn't do this "at Apple's request", I did this because it seemed silly to fork a header file over the name of a single entry in it and, as I said in my message to -hackers, I just thought I'd check to see if FreeBSD was willing to change it before Apple changed it in their own sources. Anyone with time to waste can see the original message (and the thread which followed) here: hackers /2003-May/000791.html

    Personally, I rather liked the EDONTPANIC suggestion...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15, 2003 @04:13AM (#5962032) soon as I saw this post []:
      In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer
      Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, FreeBSD has already supplanted
      the great UNIX[R] as the standard repository of all knowledge
      and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains
      much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it
      scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important

      First, it is slightly cheaper; and secondly it has the error
      EDONTPANIC inscribed in large friendly letters in its source.
    • Yeah, slow news day indeed.

      Anyway having wasted my time reading through the thread I might as well waste a few more seconds venting my opinion.

      First off, whoever the idiot at Apple who is pushing you to fork to avoid the horrible indignity of having the word doofus in the source code is, he should be fired. Yesterday. God, that's just lame. Particularly considering it's in a place that amounts to a note amongst the programmers saying 'if you get this you did something really dumb' - it's not going to us

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Jordan has a point (as he usually does when he speaks up). An errno like that isn't something that's going to be burried in some kernel code for no one to see - that's something that programmers will have to use. I do not use silly variables and function names in my software for several reasons, #1 they aren't descriptive generally and #2 it's just not professional.

        I also agree with Jordan that this individual errno name is trivial but I believe his concern is that it's the start of a trend that could make
      • You know, I agree with almost everything in your post. The one thing on which I don't think with you: it's not going to users and it's perfectly appropriate in context. I have to preface with the thought that people without a sense of humor are probably not cut out for programming in a community effort, but I believe it is (slightly) wrong to insult people (even tounge-in-cheek) just for coding a bug.

        First, free software is partly about removing the barriers for users who want to become programmers and ult
        • Well here's how I think.

          FreeBSD is very much an internet phenomenon.

          If you get upset when someone on the internet calls you a 'doofus' then you're not going to get much out of it. If that was the worst thing I'd ever been called... sheesh it's not even a real insult. It's like a nerf insult... I really think anyone that would feel insulted about it is wearing their feelings on their shirtsleeve to an absurd degree. In terms of removing barriers to participation, the barrier here would be the excessive sen
    • by aphor ( 99965 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @02:10PM (#5974382) Journal

      The idea isn't that FreeBSD committers can't call their errno EDOOFUS, but rather Apple can't as a matter of style. Therefore, EDOOFUS threatens to make the separation between FreeBSD and Darwin/MacOS-X one iota worse than it already is. Forking is an unfortunate necessary evil, and despite the "openness" of the code, there is another dimension of usability, which means portability in this case.

      If you make your code open, but people have to add a lot of macros to adapt your code, it isn't as good as if they could just use it as-is. A good programmer is always looking for any affordable way to make his programming effort more useful with less work to make use of it. It's the wisdom of forward-thinking laziness. If your code is hard to adapt, who cares if it is free? The cost of re-use includes blood-and-sweat of integration. Ideally there would be no blood-and-sweat to reuse FreeBSD code. A bad joke (admit it: hacker humor is mostly bad inside jokes) is not a good reason to fork a file IMHO; I agree with JKH.

  • When I read the headline I thought Ron Hubbard [] asked Freebsd to rename the error for some religious reason. Oh well...

    P.S. I use OpenBSD

  • Apple: Deal with it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by version5 ( 540999 ) <altovideo AT hotmail DOT com> on Thursday May 15, 2003 @09:45PM (#5969560)
    I'm of the opinion that Apple should suck it up and accept the current state of affairs. There's no technical reason to change it. Anyone with the skills to go through Apple's source is likely to be well aware of the FreeBSD connection, and even if they do get offended, they wouldn't blame Apple.

    Apple can profit from the labors of the FreeBSD folks, that's cool, I'm in favor of that, but I draw the line when Apple decides it wants to interfere with the FreeBSD culture.

    I also find it slighly hypocritical that Apple wants to change a little-known and hardly-used identifier after publically code-naming one of their projects "Butthead Astronomer" in honor of Carl Sagan. Also, as someone on the newsgroup mentioned []: The Boolean variable "STUPID" [in Apple Pascal I] --documented as STUdent Programmer ID-- was set TRUE by default, as shipped by Apple Computer.

  • In 5.1 code? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ( 316593 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @03:34AM (#5970733) Homepage
    Is this in the 5? I did not see anything in 4.8. If so, that will shed some light on the next version of OS X... er Darwin.
  • This was an explicit instruction given to programmers at a company I used to work for which will, for the time being, remain anonymous. :)

  • The DEC developers, especially the RSX family, had a puckish sense of humor and included all sorts of easter eggs in their products. Error codes were numeric, and had symbols of the form IE.XXX, where XXX was supposed to be as mnemonic as possible. Error number 69 was for "no network path"...the symbol got assigned "IE.NFW"...for "No FXXXXing Way"...
  • How can they complain...isn't one of their sound files named sosueme? If that isn't a problem, this definitely isn't. Perhaps if it was aimed towards the user it would be.

BASIC is to computer programming as QWERTY is to typing. -- Seymour Papert