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My original example certainly suggests blatant maliciousness on the part of some user; however, the most trustworthy of employees, with the best intentions in the world, can write some apparently innocuous code which could have severely adverse side effects.

Consider a user-supplied subroutine which simply reads some data (e.g. get_stock_count()). What happens if that code is called while some system function (e.g. update_stock_count()), which has been running successfully for years with no ill-effects, is in the process of being run? Is the read statement of get_stock_count() executed before or after the write statement of update_stock_count()? What are the implications of this?

[Here's a potential scenario. Supplier (on the phone to User): "Is it a problem if those parts aren't delivered today?". User (after running get_stock_count()): "I've checked the stock count - we've got plenty - next week will be fine.". Production Manager (screaming at Senior Programmer the following day): "The manufacturing plant has ground to a halt. You're responsible for stock count data. User told me he ran code approved by you that reported an adequate supply. Tell me why I shouldn't sack you!"]

My recommendation would be that any user-supplied code goes through the same process of quality control (review, testing, etc.) that you'd expect to apply to your own code.

-- Ken


In reply to Re^3: Checking for duplicate subroutine names by kcott
in thread Checking for duplicate subroutine names by SirBones

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