The Inside Stuff

“I am learning,” Yen Hui said.
“How?” the Master asked.
“I forgot the rules of Righteousness and the levels of
Benevolence,” he replied.
“Good, but could be better,” the Master said.
A few days later, Yen Hui remarked, “I am making
progress.”
“How?” the Master asked.
“I forgot the Rituals and the Music,” he answered.
“Better, but not perfect,” the Master said.
Some time later, Yen Hui told the master, “Now I sit down and
forgot everything.”
The Master looked up, startled, “What do you mean, you forgot
everything?” he quickly asked.
“I forgot my body and senses, and leave all appearance and
information behind,” answered Yen Hui. “In the middle of
Nothing, I join the source of All Things.”
The Master bowed. “You have transcended the limitations of time
and knowledge. I am far behind you. You have found the Way!”
[From a good tutorial on PERL debugging found here.]

With all the talk about how we have to do more with less, it is
interesting that the Judiciary requested, and the Legislature
approved a new position. They approved a “webmaster” for the
Judiciary’s intraweb site. Now, this is not a story about how
politics works and how you almost never get what you want or
need, but you do get what the politically connected want.

Rather, it’s a story about being told to do something but
not being given the access required to do it.
So sit right back
and you’ll hear a tale,
a tale of a fateful trip.
That started from this tropic port, aboard this tiny ship.

Part of our intraweb site runs on PERL.
That is, the search engine and electronic voting booth runs via
PERL scripts. I installed the scripts about two years ago and
all was well.

Until our new webmaster came along, that is. Our new
webmaster is good at creating fancy HTML. However, he doesn’t seem to be as
experienced in running and maintaining a web server. For
example, he doesn’t know what PERL/PYTHON is. He doesn’t know
about setting permissions. He doesn’t know about a lot of
things a webmaster needs to know to do his or her job.

So, all of sudden the scripts stopped running and I was told
to fix them (perhaps not coincidentally after he deleted and
re-created the directories the scripts are in). The problem is
I no longer have read/write access to the PERL scripts. In
fact, I can’t even run PERL on the command line. These are BIG
problems if I’m supposed to fix the scripts. I reckon these are
also artifacts of his deleting the directories and then
re-creating them that I talked about earlier.

Looking at the PERL error messages I’m now getting, I’ve
narrowed it down to two possibilities: 1. The permissions are
set wrong for the sub-directory and/or the files in the
directory. 2. The path has changed and the PERL scripts need to
be updated to point to the correct directory.

But since I can’t copy, edit, read, write, fold or staple any of the scripts, I
can’t check to see if I’m correct. So, I emailed the webmaster
asking for permissions to be set so I could do so (either
through my login or by actually changing things on the files
themselves).

Our webmaster replied saying the error message indicates
PERL is running so he has nothing to do. It’s up to me to fix
things. [sound:fx sound of steam being released and someone
slowly counting one…two…three…four…] Sigh. Don’t get me wrong, he is a very nice guy and trying to do the best he can. But perhaps he needs some training in how to do the things he needs to do.

So, that’s where we stand right now. Our webmaster thinks I
can fix things without having to change permissions. So I’m going to clear my mind and forget this problem as life is too short to make a big deal out of this.

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