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Wietse Venema QUOTES / QUOTATIONS
Adding functionality is not just a matter of adding code.
Quotation of Wietse Venema
As of today, the Postfix mail transport agent has almost 50,000 lines of code, comments not included.
Quotation of Wietse Venema
At the time the Sendmail program had a very poor reputation with respect to security, with four root vulnerabilities per year for two successive years.
Quotation of Wietse Venema
Coming back to the topic of computer security, the TCP Wrapper is an example of such a safety net. I wrote it when my systems were under attack by someone who appeared to walk through walls.
Quotation of Wietse Venema
Defect-free software does not exist.
Quotation of Wietse Venema
For many people my software is something that you install and forget. I like to keep it that way.
Quotation of Wietse Venema
However, writing software without defects is not sufficient. In my experience, it is at least as difficult to write software that is safe - that is, software that behaves reasonably under adverse conditions.
Quotation of Wietse Venema
I don't expect an overnight change of all desktops to what the US Military used to call B3 level security. And even that would not stop users from shooting themselves into the foot.
Quotation of Wietse Venema
I have no doubts that electronic mail will remain a powerful vector for propagation of viruses and other malware.
Quotation of Wietse Venema
I want to avoid locking people into solutions that work only with Postfix. People should have a choice in what software they want to use with Postfix, be it anti-virus or otherwise.
Quotation of Wietse Venema
I was going to visit IBM for six months as a visiting scientist. Now, six months is a lot of time, so I came with a whole list of projects that I might want to work on.
Quotation of Wietse Venema
In a previous life I wrote the software that controlled my physics experiments. That software had to deal with all kinds of possible failures in equipment. That is probably where I learned to rely on multiple safety nets inside and around my systems.
Quotation of Wietse Venema
Internally, Postfix does use multi-threading, for example, for its scheduler program that hands the mail queue requests to the mail delivery agents.
Quotation of Wietse Venema
Lack of documentation is becoming a problem for acceptance.
Quotation of Wietse Venema
Like all software, Qmail can survive only when it keeps up with changing requirements.
Quotation of Wietse Venema
Like most people, I am not smart enough that I can design software without having to restructure the software every now and then.
Quotation of Wietse Venema
Most of the effort in the software business goes into the maintenance of code that already exists.
Quotation of Wietse Venema
My reply is: the software has no known bugs, therefore it has not been updated.
Quotation of Wietse Venema
One bug in an SMTP server can open up the whole machine for intrusion.
Quotation of Wietse Venema
Postfix keeps running even if one Postfix process dies; Windows requires that someone restarts the service.
Quotation of Wietse Venema
Postfix relies on multi-processing to increase separation between activities, and to increase resistance to failure.
Quotation of Wietse Venema
Qmail out of the box works fine, so people will want to use it regardless of licensing restrictions, even when the software does not ship with their system software.
Quotation of Wietse Venema
Sure, but competition is good for the user.
Quotation of Wietse Venema
The challenge with Postfix, or with any piece of software, is to update software without introducing problems.
Quotation of Wietse Venema
The Postfix security model is based on keeping software simple and stupid.
Quotation of Wietse Venema
This will surprise some of your readers, but my primary interest is not with computer security. I am primarily interested in writing software that works as intended.
Quotation of Wietse Venema
When I write software, I know that it will fail, either due to my own mistake, or due to some other cause.
Quotation of Wietse Venema
Windows favors multi-threading, which means that a service is implemented by one single process.
Quotation of Wietse Venema
With great effort I can reduce my own error rate to one bug in 1000 lines of code.
Quotation of Wietse Venema
Writing software that's safe even in the presence of bugs makes the challenge even more interesting.
Quotation of Wietse Venema