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Home » Why the “if it ain’t broke dont fix it” attitude is fatal in IT

Why the “if it ain’t broke dont fix it” attitude is fatal in IT

In the tech industry or world, things always move and change but quite often you will find people who will not allow things to be updated or changed because it still works. They’ll say “if it aint broke don’t fix it” to avoid going through the pains and issues if say you wanted to update your router configuration, or apply premade configurable optimisations like litepseed cache and w3 total cache to your wordpress website which requires your website breaking as you tweak settings to find the best configuration

In the movies it makes it seem easy and quick to hack anything. Truthfully this stereotype of computers, servers, software even micro controllers being very vulnerable and quick and easy to hack by a skilled knowledgeable hacker used to be very true decades ago, even in world war 2 such as when the allies broke German encryption. Before advances in software engineering and electronics came about, the old mindset was still used in computing where if something still works why go through effort and downtime to replace or change it?

Its important to understand the tech world better. Unlike cars, computing is very theoretical, methods and software improve and change. Software gets improved with every iteration as code is referenced and improved. Sure while code is improved, methods aren’t. We live in an age where hardware is fast, running overly bloated code bringing things to its knees. After all, why change your methods when it works?

However many people still operate tech companies with the old mechanical factory mindset. Why switch to Linux and C when vb6 and old windows still run fine on the old machines? Why new methods when the old one keeps working? Fun fact, using Linux and C programming is far more efficient allowing hardware tuning continuously to a fine level which can help to reduce and adjust for wear, but its a big effort. To keep to an old windows vb6 environment even when not networked doesn’t stop someone sneaking in and connecting to those machines via a wireless serial adapter for instance to sneakily sabotage your factory. If it was fixed even when not broken, this could break made impossible.

Software and computers do tend to get advanced that they get a lot of redundancies and recovery that we do not notice that something is broken. For instance, you can run a website on php 5 with APC or memcache. Its broken but it will still work, however at some point the vulnerabilities and issues creep up that your website could be gone forever. In order to survive long in the tech world, you must continue to improve and adapt or you will end up gone because even a ransomware can be the end of you. A lot of times there is no cure when a problem hits in tech that there are so many warnings and notices we tend to filter out all because things are running smoothly when if what you use is at its end, if we don’t keep ourselves updated we end up ending ourselves too.

Linux and Unix are interesting. Long ago I played with sun Solaris on SPARC, and there were extra commands in firmware that you could bring up over the OS. However the OS was so reliable that a bad crash didn’t made the system unusable or stop a running software that you could fix the problem at your leisure without rebooting or reboot whenever you want but the end user does not notice any disruption. Nowadays this sort of reliability is available through cloud and Linux distros like opensuse that allow changes to happen like major updates without any downtime. This creates the wrong perception among higher ups that would refuse changes or updates that are required or pending on the premise that it still runs. Even cars now are computer controlled direct injected monsters with so much code that can tell you very early something is going to fail that if you ignore it will cost you way more ( hence why cars among higher ups tend to cost an arm and leg in maintenance and repairs).

You will quite often find clashes in the tech world refusing changes that could cause down times and require testing, but it is the only way since you cannot see something that’s broken in the tech world as the code and hardware are hidden from you. Taking preemptive measures is the only way despite the pains it can cause. Ned to change a switch config but will cause downtime to increase performance and security? Go for it at the best time for minimal interference (8 hour standard work is broken for offices. Offices are not factories) as without changing and enduring the pain to update that switch, you would be open to worse downtimes and hacks that you so not yet see.

In the tech world, when something breaks the consequence is even more severe than the pain and effort needed to prevent it, its just something not visible to most and is why we have big companies today like Microsoft and Amazon that acted preemptively today as they learnt from their horrid mistakes of the past, Microsoft especially in its anti consumer practice’s and Intel today as it has lost behind and and still is anti consumer and starting to fall behind. Just because something isn’t broken, doesn’t mean it isn’t. In the tech world everything is broken and needs fixing, even if it works. If you knew fixing your car today would save you a lot more tomorrow, would you not fix it today to save a bundle despite being stranded for a day as you wait rather than being stranded in the middle of nowhere for a while even if it was still working fine?

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