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Symbolic Violence Beats Lava Lamps All To Pieces 128

cdance writes "Traditional Lava Lamps, and of course email, are the tools of choice to notify your dev team that the build in your continuous integration system is broken. However, lava lamps, just like pink curtains and shag pile, don't really fit into the culture of many modern development teams. There is now a solution. Retaliation is a new Jenkins CI build monitor that automatically coordinates a foam missile counter-attack against the developer who breaks the build. It does this by playing a pre-programmed control sequence to a USB Foam Missile Launcher to target the offending code monkey."
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Symbolic Violence Beats Lava Lamps All To Pieces

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  • by Samantha Wright ( 1324923 ) on Monday August 22, 2011 @06:27PM (#37172586) Homepage Journal

    In larger software development environments, it is common for many contributing programmers to work on a single copy of the project's source code at the same time (typically through a mechanism called source control.) As a matter of etiquette, developers are expected to test their code before contributing it back to the master copy. If the master copy fails to compile, typically due to an error in coding, then it is said that the build has been broken, and that the developer who contributed the bad code broke the build.

    An article posted on Slashdot in 2004 suggested that software teams keep a red lava lamp in their server room, and have it turn on whenever a broken build is discovered. The reason for picking a lava lamp in particular is because it can take several minutes for the wax to warm up enough for the bubbles to reach the top of the oil: the article's authors proposed using this delay as a period in which the build could be fixed without inspiring a greater breach of decorum, and hence invoking the ire of the rest of the development team.

    This summary, by contrast, is a slashvertisement for a different solution to the same problem, wherein foam projectiles are launched at the offending developer. It attempts to conceal its absurd premises by referencing a past incident in which a similar idea was suggested, thereby hoping to capitalise on an in-joke as a means of creating something more acceptable as a cultural object of Slashdot's community; however, the submitter most likely just did a search for something he or she could exploit to provide padding.

    That all being said, you should probably get used to being expected to read embedded links in order to garner a cohesive understanding of the relevant context for something written on the Web. Most people don't have the communication skills necessary to clearly and accurately introduce context in a compact space, and in lieu of this ability, it is highly preferable to have a reference to the original subject matter (or at least a more primary resource) than to be left with mere hearsay or no context whatsoever. This is one of the greatest ways the Internet has changed how people communicate, and while it has its annoying side effects at times (especially dead links) it does more good than harm.

All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly