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Sometimes Somebody Just Nails It

There’s a thread underway on Slashdot right now involving a slightly arcane issue in which the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network (CPAN) is receiving 20-30 HTTP requests per second…from IP addresses owned by Microsoft. If this makes no sense to you, let it ride; it’s not important for the point I’m making. CPAN’s servers are so tied up honoring all those requests that they’re mostly inaccessible. The Slashdot discussion focuses on the question of whether Microsoft is doing this deliberately, or whether the torrent of requests is a side-effect of something else they’re doing. (A third possibility, that Microsoft’s servers have been badly hacked by DDOS bots, is possible but seems unlikely to me.) The question cooks down to whether all the action from Microsoft’s subnet is due to malice or incompetence.

A chap on Slashdot named Lloyd Bryant pretty much nailed it: “Sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice. See Government, US.”

Hoo-boy. Somebody please give that man the Nobel Prize.


  1. Darrin Chandler says:

    > “Sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice. See Government, US.”

    That’s funny! Not entirely true, but if there weren’t something to it then it wouldn’t resonate so well.

    The real problem here is the mix of incompetence and lack of caring enough to make stopping the bad behavior a priority. How hard should it be for MS to block traffic from their bots to CPAN until they’ve found and fixed the problem?

  2. Carrington Dixon says:

    Would think that Hanlon’s Razor ( applies here, too.

  3. Bruce C. Baker says:

    “Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.”


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