Re: Satellite-killing software

Subject: Re: Satellite-killing software
From: "Peter Neilson" <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 05 May 2016 09:28:44 -0400

On Thu, 05 May 2016 00:34:59 -0400, Keith Hood <bus -dot- write -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:

It's not Friday yet but what the heck . . . I saw a story about that
Japanese satellite that failed in flight, on a site called
hackaday.com.Apparently it malfunctioned after a software update went awry.
I'm offering 5 to 2 they didn't bother to comment the code. Any takers?

I think they commented the code and then wrote more code based upon reading the comments instead of the code. Only certain of the comments in code are good enough to instill caution and perhaps inspire a search for deeper understanding. My favorite one of those is this:

/*
* Switch to stack of the new process and set up
* his segmentation registers.
*/
retu(rp->p_addr);
sureg();
/*
* If the new process paused because it was
* swapped out, set the stack level to the last call
* to savu(u_ssav). This means that the return
* which is executed immediately after the call to aretu
* actually returns from the last routine which did
* the savu.
*
* You are not expected to understand this.
*/
if(rp->p_flag&SSWAP) {
rp->p_flag =& ~SSWAP;
aretu(u.u_ssav);
}
/*
* The value returned here has many subtle implications.
* See the newproc comments.
*/
return(1);

See https://www.bell-labs.com/usr/dmr/www/odd.html for Dennis Ritchie's explanation.

Here's a picture of Dennis with friends: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Usenix84_1.jpg
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References:
Satellite-killing software: From: Keith Hood

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