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Wietse Venema Quotes

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Wietse Venema
1951 -
Nationality: Dutch
Category: Scientist
Subcategory: Dutch Scientist

At the time the Sendmail program had a very poor reputation with respect to security, with four root vulnerabilities per year for two successive years.


Most of the effort in the software business goes into the maintenance of code that already exists.


In a previous life I wrote the software that controlled my physics experiments. That software had to deal with all kinds of possible failures in equipment. That is probably where I learned to rely on multiple safety nets inside and around my systems.


Like all software, Qmail can survive only when it keeps up with changing requirements.


Postfix keeps running even if one Postfix process dies; Windows requires that someone restarts the service.


Adding functionality is not just a matter of adding code.


The challenge with Postfix, or with any piece of software, is to update software without introducing problems.


Sure, but competition is good for the user.


However, writing software without defects is not sufficient. In my experience, it is at least as difficult to write software that is safe - that is, software that behaves reasonably under adverse conditions.


When I write software, I know that it will fail, either due to my own mistake, or due to some other cause.


One bug in an SMTP server can open up the whole machine for intrusion.


Coming back to the topic of computer security, the TCP Wrapper is an example of such a safety net. I wrote it when my systems were under attack by someone who appeared to walk through walls.


The Postfix security model is based on keeping software simple and stupid.


I want to avoid locking people into solutions that work only with Postfix. People should have a choice in what software they want to use with Postfix, be it anti-virus or otherwise.


As of today, the Postfix mail transport agent has almost 50,000 lines of code, comments not included.


Windows favors multi-threading, which means that a service is implemented by one single process.


For many people my software is something that you install and forget. I like to keep it that way.


Writing software that's safe even in the presence of bugs makes the challenge even more interesting.


Qmail out of the box works fine, so people will want to use it regardless of licensing restrictions, even when the software does not ship with their system software.


This will surprise some of your readers, but my primary interest is not with computer security. I am primarily interested in writing software that works as intended.


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