Hanging around on phpBB.com a lot lately, mainly in the phpBB3 beta support forum, get some interesting conversation with weird bugs which is what I like to see. I am a problem solver by nature, by problem solver I mean something with substance, something intriguing, that works my mind. Now phpBB3 is beta right so, an amount of technical expertise is advised, the ability to read notes included within the release announcement would be a good idea, considering the documentation is very sketchy.
The release notes make clear that certain things are unsupported or will not be happening, such as custom code modifications. Betas are about diagnosis and testing, not hacking away at this viciously bubbling cauldron of code, and then screaming for help when all hell breaks loose and you get PHP all over your best suit (what a sight that would be) can you get a stain devil for ASCII art?
Another popular topic is that of upgrade paths between betas and the preceeding RC1; it is beta code which is still volatile, there is still degree of fluidity in the code, features maybe reimplemented in a different way in the worse case scenario. The big killer is database changes, which there have been a few mainly relating to the backup system, which appears to make backups fine until you attept a restore and it pukes. If the database is not fixed, somebody wouldn’t find out until the worst time … ouch. With the no custom code mods rule, an upgrade should just be a case of replacing all the files and then performing database upgrades, but then life is never straight forward. I mentioned before that beta code is still not mature, upgrading between betas unless done properly may leave behind immature traces in some obscure way and come back to plague you at a later date.
People keep asking why they shouldn’t run the beta in a live environment, simple, it is beta. (I totally ignored that but then again I take these pills, they keep me sane.*) Want a better reason, well if a security vulnerability is found and assuming it is reported through the correct methods the details of the discover will stay shrouded in mystery (or so I assume) if this is the case the only way of knowing is by studying the changes to CVS and seeing what is being changed, which I do (sad life I know), most users asking the question I expect are unable to perform this and comprehend what’s happening to the source code. So, it seems asking the question generally qualifies you for the answer of no but stereo typing is wrong, there is always an anomaly no matter how small (it is also morally wrong).
So we end up at feature requests, why the hell would we want features added now? phpBB3 is feature complete adding more features means it will be un-feature complete for a period, considering one of the criteria for reaching the beta stage was feature completeness. Conclusions drawn, fairly obvious, this is negative progress, which is worse than lack of progress (which we have watched for too many months.)
My point behind this? Why can people not read the notes provided, some people even say they have in their posts but appear to require additional confirmation as to the state of mind of the poster at the time of posting. Thing is, this is a very particular example, I imagine we are all guilty. I for sure am, I get a new gadget, game what ever, its unwrapped and tested, the manual is read when the electricity board next decide to cull our electricity. How many people read EULA‘s that are packaged with software applications, the ones that state we install loads of spyware on your system in some covert legal mumbo jumbo bastardised obscure form of English? Not me, why, well I use Linux, and they bore me to death (I figure that is the intention or maybe just a side effect of them [software companies] covering their asse
ts.) I guess this was just a hypocritical rant, maybe it was, so what.
It is worth noting that it is year on since the 7th July tragedy, may the 52 victims rest in piece.
* I am pulling your leg, no no, not literally please don’t sue!