The saddest script I ever wrote
When my Macbook OS got into a brambled state some years ago, I started to develop inside a ‘stateless’ docker container that runs Ubuntu.
Once in a while, things got bad, but there’s no worry because I could always just go back to my last state where all was clean and in working order.
This was a heck of a strange workflow, but at least I could have a rewind button for shoddy software that I installed, or even wrote myself.
(If memory serves, I think it was a sound driver to get ‘SoX’ working on OSX that got me into this strange world.)
A new hell
Docker seemed to introduce problems at every turn, but most the time, it wasn’t so much docker, but how I was using docker. When a problem came up, at least there was always a workaround. Years of this led me to a setup I’d call: ‘strange and unusual punishment OS.’ But hey, it all held together, and it was all deterministic.
One day about a year ago, I started using
ed in place of
vi and some incredibly
unique behaviors crept into my life. Every
time I thought I could tell my rubber duck
the underlying issue, twenty-four hours later,
I’d have a new conjecture. That said, here’s my
current understanding of the bug:
When I work in my bind volume (shared by the
docker container and OSX), and when I edit a
ed and later compile it with Erlang’s
erlc, the file’s source is stale whereby it
uses some previous state of its contents at
compile time. All of these three factors had to
be present to create this confusing issue. (It
should be noted it took months to arrive at this
If I did the above outside of the bind volume,
all would be well. If I saved the source-file
vi, all would be well. If I compiled ‘c’
source code that had been edited with
would be well. Only Erlang source-code edited in
‘ed’ within the docker bind volume that would
later be compiled would act this way.
I created a workaround — because I would not be thwarted by crappy software — that I now consider to be the saddest lump of script every placed in a ‘bin’ path.
#!/bin/sh csh -f `which rulr` # make a ruler appear /usr/local/bin/ed $* /usr/local/bin/vim -c 'wq' $* exit 0 # just in case
I aliased a mapping to it (called it ‘wtfed’) with the following in my ‘.cshrc’:
alias eed 'wtfed'
… and voila, a twelve month pain-in-the-butt bug had been swept under the rug. Or maybe it’s more like I put its dead body in the downstairs freezer.
Yes, the state of software is broken, and I suppose it’s been fun to create solutions to remain sane despite this fact. However, this workaround was a new low. As soon as I whipped up this little hack, and it got my workflow back on a happy path, I heard a distant bugle start to play the ‘Taps’ melody in the back of my mind.