RE: "Linux is now not supported"

Subject: RE: "Linux is now not supported"
From: mlist -at- safenet-inc -dot- com
To: jmalin -at- jmalin -dot- com, jposada01 -at- yahoo -dot- com
Date: Mon, 20 Nov 2006 15:03:34 -0500

Joe Malin [mailto:jmalin -at- jmalin -dot- com]

> Even as an interview question, I'd ask what the source of information
> was. Can't hurt to know, and get more information from the
> source itself if possible.

I wouldn't even accept it unless it was "in writing".
Depending on who/what/where/... I might say, out loud, to
the most senior person talking to me:

Cover my butt, please. I'm going to my desk right now and
composing a quick e-mail recapping what I was just told,
as I understand it. I want you to reply, either agreeing
or modifying, before I start any re-work.

In my recap e-mail, I'd ask:
Is this a one-time glitch? Can we just Release Note it?
(Our Release Notes go on our website, at the end of the release process.)
Or can we include in the package a sheet of paper with
big, red "Linux not supported for this release!" ??

> I'd notify my manager, the product manager for the product, and the
> build engineer. If possible, we should all get together to
> discuss what
> we're going to do. If Linux has been removed, a lot more than the
> documentation might be affected! Once I get everyone into the loop,
> *then* I start thinking about what *I* need to do next. A lot
> depends on
> what type of product it is, when it needs to ship, who it's going to,
> and so forth.

So far, I'm with you. Same stuff applies around here.

> The worst case scenario is that it needs to ship on Saturday for it to
> count in the quarterly numbers, and it's going out to a wide base of
> consumers. That means the date can *not* slip. In that case, I might
> well suggest that we put an extra piece of paper in the box
> telling the
> purchaser that the Linux stuff no longer applies. Depends on what the
> *outside* of the box looks like!

We think alike. But around here, all we could say is that Linux
didn't work or was "not supported". If we took it out or
did _anything_ to the distribution image other than tweak the
docs, QA would have to test again, meaning at least a few days
of regression testing to prove that the change/removal had not
broken anything else.
> In short, something like this affects documentation, but it affects a
> lot of other areas a lot more!

Given how many places John has worked, I'm surprised he feels
that there is reliably "a" process from company to company.
It's already apparent that the process you and I are accustomed
to is different from what he expects. An interview question
that's supposed to see if I understand the process will only
find out that I "understand the process" from the current/last
place (or three) that I worked.

In summary, don't touch the docs until you've nailed down the
real critical info - is this a legit major change, and can we
not get away with Release Noting it? And get it in writing,
whichever way the PTB decide. We don't need the writer to be
holding the bag if a ton of work is done that didn't need to
be done, or if (alternatively) the writer tosses in a modestly
fiddled Release Note and goes home, only to find out on Monday
that the brown stuff had hit the rotating air circulatory device.

By the way, we've done what I described above, except it was
HP-UX and AIX that weren't supported (and so were Release
Noted as such), while Windows (various), Linux (various), and
Solaris (various) were supported as expected.

Came the interim release, 4 weeks later, and the two platforms
were back among the supported. But that was after a week and
a half of developer and build engineer time, and two and a half
weeks of testing. And all I had to do was update the Release
Notes to say that HP and AIX were back in. Nothing else had
changed, because nothing else was allowed to change.


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