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Matts (1087)

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I work for MessageLabs [] in Toronto, ON, Canada. I write spam filters, MTA software, high performance network software, string matching algorithms, and other cool stuff mostly in Perl and C.

Journal of Matts (1087)

Saturday November 02, 2002
11:51 AM


[ #8738 ]

This weekend is the end of my holiday. On friday though I got called into work. Seems that we're *still* having trouble with PPerl, despite all my hard work on it (and Richard Clamp's). However thanks to the easy enabled debugging I added to it, it's now trivial to turn on debugging in our system, and I was able to track down and fix the problem very quickly. It was a funny problem - we tried to kill the process, and then wait() for it to finish. However if we couldn't find the .pid file, we skipped the kill bit, but forgot to skip the wait() bit. So the pid was initialised to zero, and we wait() for pid=0 (i.e. init) to die. Oops.

All was fixed, and we rushed out a new release (more on why in a month or so when I can talk more about it), and my boss took me to Sainsbury's to buy my wife a bottle of wine to say sorry for calling me in on my holiday ;-)

Then today I got another email from work saying this new version still had a problem. With debugging on and a log sent back I quickly saw where the problem was, and went about fixing it. Yuck.

Most of the bugs in this release are caused by old crap hanging around from a previously running older pperl. This new release tries harder to make sure that none of that crap remains, however we're stuck between releases now. Hopefully the next roll out will be infinitely smoother (or we won't need one).

Overall I think PPerl's a very interesting project (it certainly has been for me). It's a cool tool, which is certainly benefitting greatly from much testing at messagelabs. I'm seriously thinking about writing an article about how it all works for, and I'm also thinking about porting it to ruby, which should be interesting learning for me, as it involves some really deep magic (in XS and Perl), and some fun run-time compilation stuff. And worst of all, lots of calls to goto. Eek ;-)

Anyway, apart from all the work stuff it's been a nice break. The trip to Ireland was fun (although a bit short because we lost all of Sunday due to the high winds -- plane was delayed about 7 hours) - it was nice to spend a few days away from everything with my wife - I don't know how other married people here feel, but when we go away it's almost like getting to know each other again. Which is kinda nice.

In these last few days at home I also feel like I caught up on some geek stuff that I wanted to do - though not nearly as much as I hoped to do of course. Most importantly was the axkit-users mails, which I'd let fall behind to about 100 unread messages. I like to make sure I read everything, and reply where I can, because it keeps the community alive. But sometimes it's just not possible. Anyway, I'm now down to 0 unread, so that's good :-) I also had a wierd XML idea come to me in the shower yesterday, which is very unlike me because I'm so far away from the whole XML "scene" these days. More details are on the perl-xml mailing list if you're curious.

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