This Space for Rent

The Joy of Windows

At work, we're saddled with a all-windows-all-the-time BOFH department. Trivially, it means no Linux support (for a company which has many clients running thousands of users on, um, Linux boxes, and thus a large and active development community that uses Linux boxes to develop the software to run on those multiple-hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars-a-year revenue producing boxes.) Less trivially, it means we need to deal with whatever odd Windows server software that comes from the flying monkeys in Redmond and Beaverton. So, our mail comes in through an exchange server, outgoing web traffic goes through the Microsoft proxy server, and DNS is handled through a Microsoft DNS server.

The microsoft DNS server is, um, peculiar. I've got pell configured correctly, in that it's both a machine name and a domain name, and all the libertarian nameservers actually seem to deal with it properly, so that dig returns both the IP address for pell plus the mxes, nameservers, and whatnot. But the Microsoft dns server will reliably return, um, one piece of information. Usually it's the A record, but occasionally it gets into a fit where all it wants to do is return the NS record, and I only discover this when I'm trying to scp work from home to work or visa-versa, and scp starts complaining about the host not existing.

I can understand the temptation of having the program only return one record. After all, I've taken that shortcut a few times when I was having trouble figuring out the oh-so-readable RFCs that were written by people who'd just come off a night of trying to understand P*rlp*th*nr*bytcl. But I don't turn around and sell most of this code (at least without having the testers beat me about the head to fix it first), unlike the trillion $ gorilla that's headquartered 150 miles north of me.

Sure, I can just keep hitting refresh (as I have to do with the Microsoft proxy server when it decides to feed me half-digested xml files in place of the webpages I want to look at), but that doesn't exactly strike me as the most coherent way to thank people for paying you. Well, maybe in Texas, but not anywhere else in the United States.