The Importance of Being Correct

I don’t like being wrong. I mean who really likes to be wrong? I don’t mind saying wrong things. I like to argue, so I often play devil’s advocate. This I enjoy. Its fun to challenge ideas and thoughts. Being wrong when figuring things out is fine. Being wrong on a long term decision or strategy is a real bummer.

I’m very proud of the firewall at my Dad’s house. It is an old tank of a desktop PC running Linux and iptables for network address translation. I’m sure it has protected my dad from the hell that many experience with cable modem viruses and the old Windows Messaging popups. I’m also proud that I installed Debian on it sometime in 1998 and never reinstalled. It moved from Debian 2.0 to 2.1 to 2.2 while in testing, back to 2.1 without hiccup. It is a tribute to Debian’s excellent packaging.

For the past year+ I’ve been running the 2.6 kernel on this particular computer. It has run fine. I noticed some network problems in connectivity between a long network drop from this computer to my Dad’s primary workstation. I did everything short of running a new drop. I replaced NICs in Dad’s computer. I recrimped ends. I added and removed hubs and switches in the mix. Connectivity always seemed poor.

Last weekend I finally upgraded to a recent 2.6 kernel. I installed the 2.6.10-1 debian package. I had been running a 2.6.5 package which I never upgraded. I didn’t see a need to upgrade. (please don’t comment about the numerous security issues with the 2.6.5 kernel. I know. I don’t care.) The 2.6.10 kernel fixed the connectivity issues.

I cannot beleive that 2.6.5 has some driver problems with the rtl8139 card, but apparently, that is the issue I was having. I haven’t had these kinds of issues with linux in a long time. I guess that is what I get for being an early adopter of 2.6.

The amazing part is that I only upgraded the kernel because I was there in person to install a large disk drive. I had tried using network disks, but because of the buggy driver, the performance was poor. Now that the network is performing, I can use network disk. This is good, because the disk that I put in has already died! It was an old 10G drive, so I won’t call it bad luck exactly, but it is strange luck for sure.

Moral of the story: I have no idea. Don’t rule out the bug being in the kernel or software…. maybe? … oh and being wrong sucks.