Admins, keep your hands off production servers

This was a recent e-mail exchange with support when my wife’s website started acting up.

[b]I am all of a sudden having trouble with the web site:

Yes, we recently upgraded PHP to version 4.4.1 on a couple servers as a
test case. This is a known issue with what we’ll simply call “broken
programming” that a lot of PHP programmers were assigning objects by
reference when they weren’t really supposed to be. PHP 4.4 and higher
has this as a notice now. You can simply suppress notices from being
output, but the wiser idea is to remove the assign by reference portions
of your scripts.

If this is a third party script you’re running (not one you wrote
yourself) you may look into getting an upgraded version of it. They’ve
probably already fixed it!


At least I got an honest answer when I asked if an announcement was sent out:


On Sun, 05 Feb 2006, you wrote:

[quote]I did not see an announcement for this, was there one sent out?



No, actually. There was no announcement. I’ve brought this up to the
admins as a complaint. Please accept my apologies. Also: Mysql has
been upgraded to version 5 on all new created databases from this point
forward, this was not announced either (except in the newsletter.)[/b]

Admins, keep your hands off production machines without sufficient notification unless you plan on fixing things you break. I paid for hosting, not a playground for admins to tweak things for fun. STOP IT. Thats what you have test/dev boxes for.

I have better things to do than dig around a script I didn’t write or upgrade a script because Dreamhost couldn’t be bothered to test and announce changes beforehand.


One torqued customer.