Many thanks to Hanzík for the Czech translations!

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moderately geeky  moderately geeky

Case 165

Failsafe

When the monk Landhwa was tasked with implementing a new security layer for the Spider Clan’s applications, his longtime enemy—the monk Wangohan—suspected that Landhwa’s doom was finally at hand. For security demanded attention to fine detail, and Landhwa was notoriously impatient and lazy.

Sure enough, when several applications were deployed into production with Landhwa’s code, complaints began flooding the help desk immediately. Users could not edit their personal information or view their outstanding orders, and ironically the “Contact Us” link returned a 403 Forbidden page. Chaos ruled the morning.

Landhwa was summoned to an emergency conference of the temple abbots. Wangohan idly wondered whether he would see his rival again—and if so, in how many pieces.

It was therefore to Wangohan’s great surprise that Landhwa reappeared within the hour, wearing the same irritating smile as always.

Dismayed, Wangohan went to see the head abbot. “What correction for Landhwa?” asked the monk.

“No correction,” said the abbot. “For when the error was brought to his attention, he revealed a failsafe that he had put in place. If a particular flag is set in the database, Landhwa’s API will bypass the new security layer and use the old layer instead. Now all is well, and we may investigate the problem at our leisure without rolling back the entire release.”

“Surely, this does not absolve the monk of negligence!” protested Wangohan. “If he had coded more carefully or tested more thoroughly, such a failsafe would not have been needed!”

“That may be true,” said the head abbot. “But if there is negligence here, there is also humility. When Wangohan declares today I will be perfect, we praise his determination but know that his cause is doomed. Landhwa not only acknowledges his imperfection, he protects us from it. But take heart! I am certain that, with a little effort, you could someday learn to be as lazy as he.”