[wp-hackers] Lost categories upgrading to 2.5.1

Elliotte Harold elharo at metalab.unc.edu
Wed Apr 30 16:09:24 GMT 2008

Alexander Beutl wrote:

> Yes this may create trouble - but as to the fact that UPGRADE and INSTALL
> mean you change something at the system this *screams* for having the needed
> privileges - and INSTALLING a plugin (which might need tables) or UPGRADING
> the software (which might need this too obviously) means you will have
> permission to do so - any lack of permission means it will fail!

Not all failures are equal. It doesn't bother me that the upgrade 
failed. That's reasonable under these conditions. That WordPress did not 
detect the failure, and proceeded blindly; and in fact reported a 
successful upgrade, bothers me.

> Try installing some complex software (on linux since windows is something
> totally different) which needs specific stuff at installation time which is
> not available if you aren't logged in as root, will result in the same
> failure if you do not have root permissions.

Linux installs are hardly a model of good design, but usually they at 
least notice the problem and tell you the install failed, not that it 
succeeded. At least some of the time, the install does nothing without 
the correct privileges. (And at least some of the time, it gets half way 
through and leaves you with a semi-borked system, much like WordPress did.)

As with doctors, the first principle should be, "Do no harm." If you're 
halfway through a nose job and the patient goes into cardiac arrest, 
don't keep going with the operation as if nothing unexpected had happened.

> I didn't speak about *good* configuration style but about the *normal*
> conditions most hosters run the databases on. And you can not tell me most
> hosters give you a database and more than one user while most users do not
> have CREATE privilege. I

These may be the normal conditions for Wordpress. I don't dispute that 
(though I do know of at least one major shared host that creates 
multiple users per database by default). But any software product that 
has as many different users as Wordpress does is going to find itself 
running in conditions it doesn't expect that it can't consider normal. 
If the conditions are critical to its successful operation, then it is 
OK for Wordpress to report the problem and fail as gracefully as it can 
without losing data. It is not OK for it to proceed as if the problem 
did not exist.

Elliotte Rusty Harold  elharo at metalab.unc.edu
Java I/O 2nd Edition Just Published!

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