Introducing EWONTFIX

22 Sep 2012 22:47 GMT

Welcome to EWONTFIX, a blog about, well, bugs. Especially longstanding unfixed ones in C code for Linux or Unix-like systems. The idea for this blog grew out of conversations during the development of musl libc. Aside from the fact that longstanding bugs in glibc were one of the original motivations for musl, it turns out that developing a libc leads to spending a lot of time building and testing applications. And in the process of testing, one ends up reading a lot of source. And a lot of source is appallingly bad.

Most low-quality source code just isn’t that interesting to write about. It’s more just a matter of identifying the problems, submitting them to bug trackers, and following up until somebody fixes things. However there are also a good deal of cases where buggy code is interesting to discuss. These fall mostly under two major categories:

  1. The defect is endemic, in the sense that it’s become a widely-copied idiom for other software written in the same language.

  2. The defect is in widely-used library code and has serious implications for any application using that code; however, most users of the library are at best vaguely aware that the defect even exists.

In addition to providing analysis of bugs and design flaws, I aim to make the posts on EWONTFIX informative with regard to the broader context in which the flaw appears, covering topics such as thread cancellation, commit charge and overcommit, and async-signal-safety.

This blog is presently utilizing Disqus for the comment system. Disqus is a third-party service that handles all the dynamic content off-site so I don’t have to worry about server load, denial of service, and privilege escalation issues on the actual server EWONTFIX runs on. Anonymous comments are permitted. I’m still looking for a way to offer (at least read-only) access to the comments to visitors without JS/AJAX style web browsers. I’m sure some of this blog’s target audience is unhappy with the current comment situation, but on the bright side, at least you guys can’t post to flame about it.

Attempts at humor aside, I would love a ready-made solution to pull static comments from Disqus in a form that’s ready for pasting into the page’s <noscript> block, or even better, a gateway to submit comments from a pure-HTML client. Readers, if you have any leads on this or want to contribute scripts for it, please post in the comments (after finding access to a browser that’s capable of posting).

Apart from using Disqus for comments, EWONTFIX is running entirely on static content built using GNU make and simple, portable shell scripts. All content source is written in Markdown. The site is styled with clean, simple CSS. At some point I may take a detour into meta-blogging to discus the design and implementation of the site itself — including, of course, bugs found in the process.