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Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

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91 comments

Redundancy? (0)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,3 days | (#43465779)

Only in this comment...

Re:Redundancy? (5, Funny)

Megane (129182) | 1 year,3 days | (#43465943)

Don't you mean "RedundAAncy?"

It's a sAAd day for AA.

Re:Redundancy? (-1, Redundant)

isorox (205688) | 1 year,3 days | (#43467211)

Don't you mean "RedundAAncy?"

It's a sAAd day for AA.

It's AA sAAd dAAy for AA

Re:Redundancy? (1)

rwise2112 (648849) | 1 year,3 days | (#43472167)

Don't you mean "RedundAAncy?"

It's a sAAd day for AA.

It's AA sAAd dAAy for AA

I hope you get modded 'redundant' to complete the joke.

Re:Redundancy? (1)

isorox (205688) | 1 year,3 days | (#43472787)

Don't you mean "RedundAAncy?"

It's a sAAd day for AA.

It's AA sAAd dAAy for AA

I hope you get modded 'redundant' to complete the joke.

That was the idea, but you can never rely on mods

Re:Redundancy? (1)

DarkOx (621550) | 1 year,3 days | (#43466265)

Only in this comment...

See now its that kinda thinking that leads to AA's entire fleet being grounded. I mean seriously you comment is a single point of failure. What if I'd scrolled past it? What is slashdot's web server failed to post your form post?

You single comment is just the sorta cowboy IT work that causes these disasters.

CmdrTaco's Fault (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#43465795)

He was trying to book 4000 seats at a time to accommodate his and his mother's fat asses.

Re:CmdrTaco's Fault (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#43465947)

CmdrTaco left Slashdot some time ago, so your troll was wasted. Currently owned by DICE holdings, a division of Time Warner.

Re:CmdrTaco's Fault (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#43466023)

That's like saying that Microsoft trolls can't poke fun at Bill Gates. Sorry, but no - that's not the way it works.

Re:CmdrTaco's Fault (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#43466145)

Bill Gates still owns a substantial portion of Microsoft and has some influence over it. CmdrTaco is completely unrelated to Slashdot beyond being its founder. Would you make a joke at George Washington's mom if you intended to humiliate America?

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

For the American physician and poet, see Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr [slashdot.org].

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. [slashdot.org] Associate Justice of the United States Sup reme Court [slashdot.org] In office
December 4, 1902[1] [slashdot.org]Ââ" January 12, 1932 Nominated by Theodore Roosevelt [slashdot.org] Preceded by Horace Gray [slashdot.org] Succeeded by Benjamin N. Cardozo [slashdot.org] Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court [slashdot.org] In office
August 2, 1899Ââ" December 4, 1902 Appointed by Winthrop M. Crane [slashdot.org] Preceded by Walbridge A. Field [slashdot.org] Succeeded by Marcus Perrin Knowlton [slashdot.org] Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court [slashdot.org] In office
December 15, 1882Ââ" August 2, 1899 Appointed by John Davis Long [slashdot.org] Preceded by Otis Lord Succeeded by William Loring Personal details Born (1841-03-08)March 8, 1841
Bo ston [slashdot.org], Massachusetts [slashdot.org] Died March 6, 1935(1935-03-06) (agedÂ93)
Washington, D.C. [slashdot.org] Spouse(s) Fanny Bowditch Dixwell

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (March 8, 1841 â" March 6, 1935) was an American jurist [slashdot.org] who served as an Associate Justice [slashdot.org] of the Supreme Court of the United States [slashdot.org] from 1902 to 1932. Noted for his long service, his concise and pithy opinions and his deference to the decisions of elected legislatures [slashdot.org], he is one of the most widely cited United States Supreme Court justices in history, particular ly for his "clear and present danger [slashdot.org]" majority opinion in the 1919 case of Schenck v. United States [slashdot.org] , an d is one of the most influential American common law [slashdot.org] judges through his outspoken judicial restraint [slashdot.org] philosophy.[2] [slashdot.org] Holmes retired from the Court at the age of 90 years, 309 days, makin g him the oldest Justice in the Supreme Court's history. He also served as an Associate Justice and as Chief Justice on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court [slashdot.org], an d was Weld [slashdot.org] Professor of Law at the Harvard Law School [slashdot.org], of which he was an alumnus.

Profoundly influenced by his experience fighting in the American Civ il War [slashdot.org], Holmes helped move American legal thinking away from formalism [slashdot.org] and towards legal realism [slashdot.org], as summed up in his maxim: "The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience."[3] [slashdot.org] Holmes espoused a form of moral skepticism [slashdot.org] and opposed the doctrine of natural law [slashdot.org], marking a significant shift in American jurisprudence. As he wrote in one of his most famous decisions, his dissent in Abrams v. United States [slashdot.org] (1919), he regarded the United States Constitution [slashdot.org] as "an experiment, as all life is an experiment" and believed that as a consequence "we should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe and believe to be fraught with death."[4] [slashdot.org] During his tenure on the Supreme Cou rt, to which he was appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt [slashdot.org], he s upported efforts for economic regulation [slashdot.org] and advocated broad freedom of speech [slashdot.org] under the First Amendment [slashdot.org]. These positio ns as well as his distinctive personality and writing style made him a popular figure, especially with American progressives [slashdot.org],[5] [slashdot.org] despite his deep cynicism and disagreement with their poli tics.[6] [slashdot.org] His jurispru dence influenced much subsequent American legal thinking, including judicial consensus supporting New Deal [slashdot.org] regulatory law, pragmatism [slashdot.org], critical legal studies [slashdot.org], and law an d economics [slashdot.org].[5] [slashdot.org] The Journal of Legal Studies [slashdot.org] has identif ied Holmes as one of the three most cited American legal scholars of the 20th century.[7] [slashdot.org]

Early life

Holmes was born in Boston [slashdot.org], Massachus etts [slashdot.org], the son of the prominent writer and physician [slashdot.org] Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. [slashdot.org] and abolitionist [slashdot.org] Amelia Lee Jackson. As a young man, Holmes loved literature and s upported the abolitionist movement that thrived in Boston society during the 1850s. He graduated from Harvard University [slashdot.org] in 1861, where he was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa [slashdot.org] honor society[ 8] [slashdot.org] and was a brother of the Alpha Delta Phi [slashdot.org] . Additionally, Holmes was a member of the Porcellian Club [slashdot.org], an exclusive organization, during his senior year at Harvard.[9] [slashdot.org]

Civil War

[slashdot.org]

Daguerreotype [slashdot.org] showing Holmes in his uniform, 1861

During his senior year of college, at the outset of the American Civ il War [slashdot.org], Holmes enlisted in the fourth battalion, Massachusetts [slashdot.org] militia, a nd then received a commission as first lieutenant in the Twentieth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry [slashdot.org]. He saw much action, from the Peninsula Campaign [slashdot.org] to the Wilderness [slashdot.org], suffering wounds at the Battle of Ball's Bluff [slashdot.org], Antietam [slashdot.org], and Chancellorsville [slashdot.org]. Holmes particularly admired and was close to h is fellow officer in the 20th Mass., Henry Livermore Abbott [slashdot.org] . Holmes is said to have shouted at Lincoln [slashdot.org] to take cover during the Battle of Fort Stevens, although this is commonly regarded as a pocryphal.[10] [slashdot.org] [11] [slashdot.org] [12] [slashdot.org] In the biography Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: Law and the Inner Self by G. Edward White, the author states "the authenticity of the story is highly questionable", noting "the absence of confirmatory e vidence in Holmes' own recollections of his services defending Fort Stevens".[13] [slashdot.org]

Holmes rose to the rank of captain and received a brevet (honorary promotion) to colonel in recognition of his services during the war.

After the Civil War, Holmes became a companion of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States [slashdot.org] (MOLLUS).

Jump back a section [slashdot.org]

Legal career

State Judgeship

[slashdot.org]

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. as a young man

After the war's conclusion, Holmes returned to Harvard to study law [slashdot.org]. He was admitted to the ba r in 1866, and went into practice in Boston. He joined a small firm, and married a childhood friend, Fanny Bowditch Dixwell. Their ma rriage lasted until her death on April 30, 1929. They never had children together. They did adopt and raise an orphaned cousin, Dorot hy Upham. Mrs. Holmes was described as devoted, witty, wise, tactful, and perceptive.

Whenever he could, Holmes visited London during the social season of spring and summer. He formed his closest friendships with men and women there, and became one of the founders of what was soon called the "sociological" school of jurisprudence in Great Britain, which would be followed a generation later by the "legal realist" school in America.

Holmes practiced admiralty law [slashdot.org] and commercial law in Boston for fifteen ye ars. In 1870, Holmes became an editor of the American Law Revi ew, edited a new edition of Kent's Commentaries on American Law in 1873, and published numerous articles on the common law [slashdot.org]. In 1881, he published the first edition of his well-regarded book The Common Law , in which he summarized the views he developed in the precedi ng years. In the book, Holmes sets forth his view that the only source of law, properly speaking, is a judicial decision. Judges deci de cases on the facts, and then write opinions afterward presenting a rationale for their decision. The true basis of the decision is often an "inarticulate major premise" outside the law. A judge is obliged to choose between contending legal theories, and the true basis of his decision is necessarily drawn from outside the law. These views endeared Holmes to the later advocates of legal realism [slashdot.org], and made him one of the early founders of law and economics [slashdot.org] jurisprudence.

Holmes was considered for a federal court judgeship in 1878 by President Rutherford B. Hayes [slashdot.org], but Massachusetts Senator George Fris bie Hoar [slashdot.org] convinced Hayes to nominate another candidate. In the fall of 1882, Holmes became a professor at Harvard Law School [slashdot.org]. On Friday December 8, 1882, Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts [slashdot.org] associa te justice Otis Lord decided to resign, giving outgoing Republican governor J ohn Davis Long [slashdot.org] a chance to appoint his successor, if it could be done before the Massachusetts Governor's Council [slashdot.org] adjourned at 3pm. Holmes quickly agreed, and there b eing no objection by the Council, took the oath of office on December 15, 1882. His resignation was accepted effective that day by th e law school. On August 2, 1899, Holmes became Chief Justice [slashdot.org] of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court [slashdot.org] fol lowing the death of Walbridge A. Field [slashdot.org].

During his service on the Massachusetts court, Holmes continued to develop and apply his views of the common law, usually followin g precedent faithfully. He issued few constitutional opinions in these years, but carefully developed the principles of free expressi on as a common-law doctrine. He departed from precedent to recognize workers' right to organize trade unions [slashdot.org] as long as no violence or coercion [slashdot.org] wa s involved, stating in his opinions that fundamental fairness required that workers be allowed to combine to compete on an equal foot ing with employers.

Jump back a section [slashdot.org]

Supreme Court

Overview

[slashdot.org]

Holmes's Supreme Court nomination

On August 11, 1902, Holmes received a recess appointment [slashdot.org] from Pr esident Theodore Roosevelt [slashdot.org] naming Holmes to a seat on the United States Supreme Court [slashdot.org] vacated by Justice Horace Gray [slashdot.org], who had retired in July 1902 as a result of illness. The ap pointment was made on the recommendation of Senator Henry Cabot Lodge [slashdot.org] (Roosevelt reportedly admired Holmes's "Soldier's Faith" speech as well). Holmes' appointment has been referred to as one of the few Supreme Court appointments in history not motivated by partisanship or politics, but strictly based on the nominee's contribution to law.[14] [slashdot.org]

Formally nominated on December 2, 1902, Holmes was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate [slashdot.org] on December 4, receiving his commission the same day. According to some accounts, Holmes ass ured Roosevelt that he would vote to sustain the administration's position that not all the provisions of the United States Constitution [slashdot.org] applied to possessions acquired from Spain, an important question on which the Court was then evenly divided. On the bench, Holmes did vote to support the administration's position in the "Insular Cases [slashdot.org]." However, he later disappointed Roosevelt by dissenti ng in Northern Securitie s Co. v. United States [slashdot.org] , a major antitrust [slashdot.org] prosecution;[15] [slashdot.org] the majority of the court, however, did rule against Holmes and sided with Theodore Roosevelt's belief that Northern Securities violated the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.[15] [slashdot.org] This action by Holmes brought his relationship with Theodore Roosevelt to an abrupt halt. [16] [slashdot.org]

[slashdot.org]

In the year of his appointment to the United States Supreme Court

Holmes was known for his pithy, short, and frequently quoted opinions. In more than twenty-nine years on the Supreme Court bench, he ruled on cases spanning the whole range of federal law. He is remembered for prescient opinions on topics as widely separated as c opyright, the law of contempt, the antitrust status of professional baseball, and the oath required for citizenship [slashdot.org]. Holmes, like most of his contemporaries, viewed the Bill of Rights [slashdot.org] as codifying privileges obtained over the centuries in English and American l aw.

Noteworthy rulings Otis v. Parker

Beginning with his first opinion for the Court, in Otis v. Parker, Holmes declared that "due process of law [slashdot.org]," the fundamental principle of fairness, protected people from unreasonable legislation, but was limited to only those fundamental principles enshrined in the common law and did not protect most economic interests.

[slashdot.org]

A version of the article that influenced Holmes's Abrams decision

Schenck v. United States

In a series of opinions surrounding the WWI Espionage Act [slashdot.org] and Sedition Act [slashdot.org], he held that the freedom of expression guaran teed by federal and state constitutions simply declared a common-law privilege to do harm, except in cases where the expression, in the circumstances in which it was uttered, posed a "clear and present danger" of causing some harm that the legislature had properly f orbidden. In Schenck v. United States [slashdot.org] , Holmes an nounced this doctrine for a unanimous Court, famously declaring that the First Amendment would not protect a person "falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic."

Abrams v. The United States

Later that year, however, in Abrams v. United States [slashdot.org] , Holmes â" influenced by Zechariah Chafee [slashdot.org]'s article "Freedom of Sp eech in War Time"[17] [slashdot.org] â" delivered a strongly worded dissent in which he criticized the majority's use of the clear and present danger test, ar guing that protests by political dissidents posed no actual risk of interfering with war effort. In his dissent, he accused the Court of punishing the defendants for their opinions rather than their acts. Although Holmes evidently believed that he was adhering to hi s own precedent, many later commentators accused Holmes of inconsistency, even of seeking to curry favor with his young admirers. The Supreme Court departed from his views where the validity of a statute was in question, adopting the principle that a legislature cou ld properly declare that some forms of speech posed a clear and present danger, regardless of the circumstances in which they were ut tered.

Buck v. Bell

In 1927, Holmes wrote the 8-1 majority opinion in the Buck v. Bell [slashdot.org] ca se that upheld the forced sterilization [slashdot.org] of Carrie Buck [slashdot.org] who was claimed to be of below average intelligence. In support of his argument that the interest of the states i n a pure gene pool outweighed the interest of individuals in their bodily integrity, he argued:

"We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives. It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by thos e concerned, to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degener ate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continui ng their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination [slashdot.org] is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes [slashdot.org]. Three generations of imbeciles [slashdot.org] are enough."[18] [slashdot.org]

From Taft's departure on February 3, 1930 until Charles Eva ns Hughes [slashdot.org] took office on February 24, 1930, Holmes was briefly Acting Chief Justice [slashdot.org] under 36 Stat. 1152.[19] [slashdot.org]

By the time Holmes was 80, he had dissented in so many opinions that he became known as "The Great Dissenter,"[20] [slashdot.org] a title which has been carried through the years to refer to various U.S. Supreme Court justices, including Justice John Marshall Harlan [slashdot.org],[21] [slashdot.org] wi th the latest being Justice Antonin Scalia [slashdot.org].[22] [slashdot.org]

Jump back a section [slashdot.org]

Jurisprudential contributions

Critique of Formalism

While at Harvard Law School [slashdot.org], Holmes gravitated toward a circle o f philosophers and social scientists known as the Met aphysical Club [slashdot.org], which was united by Pragmatism [slashdot.org]. Applied to law, this app roach suggests that rules are not deduced through formal logic [slashdot.org] but rather emerge from active process of human-self government.[23] [slashdot.org] He explored these theories in his 1881 book The Common Law [slashdot.org]. His philosophy represented a departure from the prevailing jurisprudence of th e time: legal formalism [slashdot.org]. Holmes sought to reinvent common lawâ" to moderni ze it as a tool for adjusting to the changing nature of modern life.[23] [slashdot.org]

Central to this reconstruction was the question of liability [slashdot.org]. In the l ate nineteenth century, formalist legal doctrine held that an individual could not be liable for acts he did not cause or were beyond his control. Under this formulation, liability required intent [slashdot.org], which could be problematic because "it requires judges and juries to make subjective judgments about individual states of mind. "[23] [slashdot.org] Thu s Holmes considered an alternative to this intent standard, the law could declare liability absolute so individuals would be held leg ally accountable for all voluntary acts regardless of prior intent or knowledge--strict liability [slashdot.org]. The proper object of law, Holmes argued, was not to instill individual morality through punishment, but r ather to publicize social duties to give individuals a fair chance to avoid doing harm before being held responsible for it.[24] [slashdot.org]

Holmes argued that a new common law standard that liability be based on the conduct that society expects the "reasonable and prude nt man" to exercise. In criminal law, he developed depraved-heart murder [slashdot.org]. If a construction worker throws a beam onto a crowded street,

âoe he does an act which a person of ordinary prudence would foresee is likely to cause death. ..,and he is dealt with as if he foresaw it, whether he does so in fact or not. If a death is caused by the act, he is guilty of murd er. But if the workman has a reasonable cause to believe that the space below is a private yard from which everyone is excluded, and which is used as a rubbish-heap, his act is not blameworthy, and the homicide is a mere misadventure.[24] [slashdot.org] â Legal skepticism

Justice Holmes laid the foundation of healthy and constructive skepticism in the law. Hughes writes: "Though another half century was to elapse before the appearance of Ogden and Richards' T he Meaning of Meaning [slashdot.org] , exploration of meaning of meaning of law was Holmes's pioneer enterprise."[25] [slashdot.org] Hughes further writes: "To me, Mr. Justice Holmes is a p rophet of the Law."[26] [slashdot.org]

In 1881, Holmes published The Common Law, representing a new departure in legal philosophy. Through his writings, he change d general attitude to the law. An excerpt from the opening passage captures the pragmatic theme of that work and of Holmes's philosop hy of law: "The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience."

In a dissenting opinion in Lochner v. New York (1905) [27] [slashdot.org] Holmes declared that the law should develop along with society and that the 14th Amendment did no t deny states a right to experiment with social legislation. He also argued for judicial restraint, asserting that the Court should n ot interpret the Constitution according to its own social philosophy. Francis B iddle [slashdot.org] writes: "He was convinced that one who administers constitutional law should multiply his skepticisms to avoid heading into vague words like 'liberty', and reading into law his private convictions or the prejudices of his class."[28] [slashdot.org] Biddle also said that Holmes "refused to let his prefer ences (other men were apt to call them convictions) interfere with his judicial decisions...The steadily held determination to keep h is own views isolated from his professional work is aptly shown by his famous remark in the Lochner case - the Fourteenth Amen dment does not enact Mr. Herbert Spencer [slashdot.org]'s Social Statics [slashdot.org] ...A constitution is not intended to embody a particular economic theory."[ clarification needed [slashdot.org] ]

According to Holmes, "Men make their own laws...these laws do not flow from some mysterious omnipresence in the sky, and...judges are not independent mouthpieces of the infinite.[29] [slashdot.org] The common law is not a brooding omnipresence in the sky."[30] Holmes compared the Law to a bad man "who cares only for the ma terial consequences of things" rather than as an independent moral entity.[31] [slashdot.org][ clarification needed [slashdot.org] ] Holmes defined the law in accordance with his pragmatic judicial philosop hy. Rather than a set of abstract, rational, mathematical, or in any way unwordly set of principals, Holmes said that, "[T]he prophec ies of what the courts will do in fact, and nothing more pretentious, are what I mean by the law."[30] [slashdot.org] Accordingly, Holmes thought that only a jud ge or lawyer who is acquainted with the historical, social, and economic aspects of the law would be in a position to fulfill his fun ctions properly. Although he never ruled on the contentious social issue, Holmes believed the concept justified abolishing segregatio n. "Racial segregation is the epitomy of evil," he said. "I also don't like Southern accents." [30] [slashdot.org]

As a justice of U.S. Supreme Court, Holmes challenged a traditionalist concept of the Constitution that said that the written docu ment does not change, so neither should its interpretation.[vague ] Holm es also protested against Formalism, the method of abstract logical deduction from general rules in the judicial process. According t o Holmes, lawyers and judges are not logicians and mathematicians. The books of the laws are not books of logic and mathematics. He w rites, "The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience. The felt necessities of the time, the prevalent moral and pol itical theories, intuitions of public policy, avowed or unconscious, and even the prejudices which judges share with their fellow-men , have had a good deal more to do than syllogism in determining the rules by which men should be governed. The law embodies the story of a nation's development through many centuries, and it cannot be dealt with as if it contained only the axioms and corollaries of a book of mathematics."[32] [slashdot.org]

"General propositions do not decide concrete cases."

Lochner v. New York (1905) 198 US 45, 76 (1905)â" Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes

Holmes also insisted on the separation of "ought" and "is," which are obstacles in understanding the realities of the law.[ clarification needed [slashdot.org] ] As a moral skeptic, Holmes stated that if you want to know the real law, and nothing else, you must consider it from the point of view of a "bad man" who cares only of the material consequences of the courts' decisions, and not from the point of view of a goo d man, who find his reasons for conduct "in the vaguer sanctions of his conscience."[33] [slashdot.org][ clarification needed [slashdot.org] ] The law is full of phraseology drawn from morals, a nd talks about rights and duties, malice, intent, and negligence - and nothing is easier in legal reasoning than to take these words in their moral sense.[34] [slashdot.org][ clarification needed [slashdot.org] ] Holmes said, "I think our morally tinted words have caused a great deal of confused thinking." But Holmes is not unconcerned w ith moral questions. He writes, "The law is the witness and external deposit of our moral life. Its history is the history of the mor al development of the race. The practice of it, in spite of popular jests, tends to make good citizens and good men. When I emphasize the difference between law and morals I do so with reference to a single end, that of learning and understanding the law."[35] [slashdot.org] George Washington University [slashdot.org] law professor Jeffrey Rosen [slashdot.org] summarized Holmes' views on politics and the law this way: "Holmes was a cold and br utally cynical man who had contempt for the masses and for the progressive laws he voted to uphold."[6] [slashdot.org]

Jump back a section [slashdot.org]

Retirement, death, honors and legacy

[slashdot.org]

1968 postage stamp issued by the U. S. Post Office [slashdot.org] to commemorate Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Holmes served on the court until January 12, 1932, when his brethren on the court, citing his advanced age, suggested that the tim e had come for him to step down. By that time, at 90 years of age, he was the oldest justice to serve in the court's history. Three y ears later, Holmes died of pneumonia [slashdot.org] in Washington, D.C. [slashdot.org] in 1935, two days short of his 94th birthday. In his will, Holmes left his residuary estate to the United States government (he had earlier said that "Taxes are what we pay for civilized society" in Compañia General de Tabacos de Filipinas vs. Collector of In ternal Revenue, 275 U.S. 87, 100 (1927) [findlaw.com].) After his death, his personal effects included his Civil War Officer's uniform still s tained with his blood and 'torn with shot' as well as the carefully wrapped Minié balls [slashdot.org] that had wounded him three times in separate battles. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery [slashdot.org].[36] [slashdot.org] The United States P ostal Service [slashdot.org] honored Holmes with a Prominent Ameri cans series [slashdot.org] (1965â"1978) 15 postage stamp [slashdot.org].

Holmes's papers, donated to Harvard Law School [slashdot.org], were kept closed for many years after his death, a circumstance that gave rise to numerous accounts of his life. Catherine Drinker Bowen [slashdot.org]'s biography "Yankee from Olympus" was a long-time bestseller, and the 1951 Hollywood [slashdot.org] motion picture [slashdot.org] The Magnific ent Yankee [slashdot.org] was based on a play [slashdot.org] about Holmes's life. The availabilit y of the extensive Holmes papers in the 1980s has led to fuller biographies.

Jump back a section [slashdot.org]

Theatre, film, television, and f ictional portrayals

American actor Louis Calhern [slashdot.org] portrayed Holmes in the 1946 play The Magn ificent Yankee, with Dorothy Gish [slashdot.org] as Holmes's wife, and in 1950, Calhern re peated his performance in MGM [slashdot.org]'s film version The Magnificent Yankee [slashdot.org], for which he received his only Academy Award [slashdot.org] nomination. Ann Harding [slashdot.org] co-starred in the film. A 1965 television adaptation of the play starred Alfred Lunt [slashdot.org] and Lynn Fontanne [slashdot.org] in one of their few appearances on the small screen.

In the movie Judgment at Nuremberg [slashdot.org] (1961), defense advocate Hans Rolfe quotes Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes twice with the following:

This responsibility will not be found only in documents that no one contests or denies. It will be found in considerations of a po litical or social nature. It will be found, most of all in the character of men.

Jump back a section [slashdot.org]

Re:CmdrTaco's Fault (0)

turkeyfeathers (843622) | 1 year,3 days | (#43466251)

Doesn't CmdrTaco still get royalties everytime a Packt book review is published here?

Re:CmdrTaco's Fault (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#43471381)

No, but he gets patent royalties whenever a dup is posted.

seems to happen now and then (3, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | 1 year,3 days | (#43465811)

From various airlines: 2004 #1 [slashdot.org], 2004 #2 [slashdot.org], 2011 #1 [slashdot.org], 2011 #2 [slashdot.org], and probably others I missed.

Re:seems to happen now and then (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#43466333)

And this Alaska Airlines [katu.com] outage from just six months ago.

I was actually in the line pictured there at PDX. But, I left before the photographers arrived to re-book on another airline. It's really unfortunate I was able to re-book. That outage was an answer to my prayers on the way to PDX for something to happen to get me out of going on that business trip.

Re:seems to happen now and then (1)

mjwx (966435) | 1 year,3 days | (#43469517)

From various airlines: 2004 #1 [slashdot.org], 2004 #2 [slashdot.org], 2011 #1 [slashdot.org], 2011 #2 [slashdot.org], and probably others I missed.

OK, I'm travelling to the US later this year, I'm going to have to take some internal flights... Is there any airline there that I can reasonably count on not to screw up?

Re:seems to happen now and then (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#43470647)

No. You're fucked mate.

is it because of this? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#43465837)

http://www.tnooz.com/2012/06/12/news/all-bets-are-off-american-airlines-to-abandon-hp-reservations-project-for-new-partner/

Are they on some older software that can't hand mo (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#43465887)

Are they on some older software that can't hand more then X changes in X time?

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (3, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | 1 year,3 days | (#43466043)

The software they run is Sabre, which was co-founded by American Airlines some decades ago. I have no particular knowledge of which software has undergone rewrites and which hasn't, but if you scan their own timeline [sabre.com], it's not hard to suspect that there are huge piles of ancient code still in there.

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (3, Funny)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | 1 year,3 days | (#43466273)

>> piles of ancient code still in there

ancient code ain't always slow code - remember what we had to write it for, you whippersnapper

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (1)

Trepidity (597) | 1 year,3 days | (#43466443)

True. A bigger problem is probably that it's 50 years of accumulated cruft that may or may not work together in any kind of maintainable way (probably "may not"). Stable legacy systems that are just maintained with minor bugfixes now and then can be perfectly reasonable, but systems that accrete code over decades tend not to be.

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (2)

zachary.grafton (1820370) | 1 year,3 days | (#43466947)

This is pretty much what is killing it. I've made a post about SHARES already, which is a United system, but it seems to be pretty popular to use old systems in the airlines and I imagine SABRE is in a similar state. SHARES was originally just a reservations system, but they've tacked all sorts of modules on to it. For instance, SHARES has an extension for WorldTracer(for tracking bags,) a cargo tracking module, a module called FOMS for flight tracking, and all sorts of other cruft. They've built some GUI wrappers for some bits and pieces, but none of them are worth mentioning. So, most ticket agents are still doing everything through an archaic command line interface to a mainframe. The software also does more things in the core module above and beyond just reservations too, like flight information so gate agents can track flight statuses. Personally, I think they are going to run into a wall with the extensibility of the system in the next 5 years and a lot of airlines are going to be playing catch up with their IT systems. Most of them just need to be redesigned from scratch. It would probably make for a better customer experience and make it a better workplace for their employees.

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (2, Informative)

Zmobie (2478450) | 1 year,3 days | (#43468335)

You see, no it isn't exactly like you say. I have written and have in production interfaces with SHARES and the problem isn't so much their infrastructure, as they are actively doing a lot more upgrades (I actually have had conference calls with their IT managers while migrating one of their systems) than anyone thinks. The problem is more operational than anything, but since I am actively under an NDA concerning things like that I can't bring up any specifics. Other than that, the other problem is too many vendors under the same roof. I have seen systems that have had probably every company in the business do an update somewhere to some module or piece of the system and THAT is what makes these things more of a nightmare than anything. The nice simple ones where it was a streamlined job, are very easy to upgrade and keep current.

Now that isn't to say that some of the current systems are not old and outdated, but many of the carriers are in the process of performing these upgrades right now (I have insider knowledge on that because of the work my company does). The general time-frame for large scale system upgrades varies between 5 to 10 years it seems, depending on how stable the original system actually was. I can also say that American actually just rolled out some new updates to several of their systems including their check-in and processing, and they are currently doing upgrades to other existing framework elsewhere. Smaller upgrades are usually much more frequent, but these are more behind the scenes and not something a customer would ever see.

Most of the legacy systems are surprisingly stable, and in fact there are more hiccups during the initial roll-out of new systems than anything else. This one is still up in the air it seems as to what or who was the culprit. More than likely it is a new system hiccup and things kind of fell through at a really bad time. I feel for whoever was scrambling trying to fix it, I have heard some nasty stories from our guys on emergency support calls and have had a few crappy ones myself.

And FYI you are referring to FIMS not FOMS, and United actually uses FLIFO for their flight information (again have interfaces in production right now working with it), and SHARES is run through mostly data-center grade servers and not mainframes (though they do still use a lot of command line to interface with the system).

P.S. I don't mean the post to come off condescending or anything, just I have much more intimate knowledge of these systems and felt I could share a little bit to allow for a better understanding of things.

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (1)

starblazer (49187) | 1 year,3 days | (#43469679)

They are stable, I'll give you that, but I wish that I could get through a day without having to reset my terminal a few hundred times because I get stuck in a terminal with "X-Wait" and a locked term.

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (1)

TheLoneGundam (615596) | 1 year,3 days | (#43474609)

"X-Wait" doesn't mean it's never coming back... if you notice it, it means that response time is slower than you expect but it still might come back. Many mainframe block-mode terminals and application "servers" like CICS (CICS is most analogous to Tomcat though the comparison isn't exact) "lock" the terminal until the transaction response is produced, to keep people from entering hundreds of transactions in a row and losing track of which response goes with which transaction. So, if a transaction is delayed for some reason, your terminal is still "locked". Impatient people don't like the situation, reset the terminal emulator, and enter the transaction again - but the only effect of that is to throw away the result of the first transaction when CICS goes to send it (because the terminal session was lost) and put your transaction at the back of the queue. That's not to say that things _never_ get hung up in the locked state, of course there are failures where the response never comes back, but it's good to pick some amount of time (30 seconds, 1 minute) to wait before going through the "throw it away and start over" process.

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (1)

starblazer (49187) | 1 year,3 days | (#43469653)

I'd rather type 4 lines of code to rebook your ticket and resync rather than have to wait for AirportApps or whatever GUI to refresh and do it. Six if you include the "ER, ER" to finish the job.

Now, would I want to do a new PNR in SHARES? absolutely not. but for day to day operations, SHARES isn't bad. If you want to see cruft, try working with Deltamatic. The same thing that takes one command in shares takes 3-4 in Deltamatic.

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (2)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | 1 year,3 days | (#43466497)

old code is plenty fast. It's just full of bugs, non-scalable, unmaintainable, and platform dependent. When we had slow computers speed was the only thing that mattered. Now we have fast computers and maintainability, scalability, and platform independence is worth a few lost clock cycles.

Old code is fast, but not if you count the time it takes to write, maintain, rewrite, and all the time spend debugging and rebooting computers and restarting services when things don't work.

Brian Kernighan put it eloquently: "Everyone knows that debugging is twice as hard as writing a program in the first place. So if you're as clever as you can be when you write it, how will you ever debug it?"

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (2)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | 1 year,3 days | (#43466871)

Sabre was one of the original mainframe transaction processing systems. I can run OS/MVS under the Hercules System/370 emulator on one of the old junk Pentium 166 boxes sitting over in the corner and it would still out-perform the original Sabre computers by a considerable margin.

On the plus side, programs back then didn't have to deal with 16 different UI controls (menu, popup menu, toolbar, command keys, etc) so the source code base was much smaller. And you never rebooted a mainframe unless the world was coming to an end, almost literally. Certainly not for application bugs.

On the minus side, that stuff was never intended to interface in all the myriad ways that systems routinely do now. Which means that support for Internet users and modern GUIs was all bolted on as after-the-fact stuff. Probably by cheap outsourced labor.

This isn't the first recent Sabre problem, just one of the more severe ones.

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#43467863)

@RabidReindeer : right on !! ...being on the main frame side here for a canadian airline , this type of crash is not workstations/OS related ( despite being true that raw data must now feed a bunch of newer needs/software ) , and yes, even if planes have stairs to get in , its not enough to handle all duties an airline must face

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#43467917)

I'm a Sabre employee. The issue today was not related to any Sabre systems.

“American Airlines mistakenly reported they were having an issue with the Sabre reservations system, which they subsequently corrected. To clarify, all Sabre systems are operating as normal and have been all day. We see American Airlines is now up and running. We stand ready to help if needed.”

Dan

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | 1 year,3 days | (#43471091)

On the plus side, programs back then didn't have to deal with 16 different UI controls (menu, popup menu, toolbar, command keys, etc) so the source code base was much smaller.

But IBM terminals do support things like menus, toolbars, command keys, text input fields, and the like.

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | 1 year,3 days | (#43471823)

On the plus side, programs back then didn't have to deal with 16 different UI controls (menu, popup menu, toolbar, command keys, etc) so the source code base was much smaller.

But IBM terminals do support things like menus, toolbars, command keys, text input fields, and the like.

I'm not sure what IBM terminals you are talking about, but I'm referring to "green screen" terminals. Their idea of a menu/toolbar/commandkey UI was to have a row down at the bottom of the screen that said "F1 Help F3 END F7 FORWARD F8 BACK".

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | 1 year,1 day | (#43494011)

Their idea of a menu/toolbar/commandkey UI was to have a row down at the bottom of the screen that said "F1 Help F3 END F7 FORWARD F8 BACK".

There's incredible variation in "green screen" terminals. An adm3a doesn't even have cursor control. An IBMwhatever has fillable fields and limited form validation. A Tek terminal draws graphics. All of these are just a terminal, though the Tek may have a mouse it's still not an X terminal.

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | 1 year,1 day | (#43495875)

Tek, LSI, ADDS, and similar terminals aren't IBM terminals, by definition.

Back when Sabre was new, the IBM mainframe spoke strictly to IBM terminals - either the 3270 series or their predecessors (2660). I spent quite a few years working in that world. As befitted a mainframe, they transmitted data in blocks, not per-character like their ASCII cousins. They didn't have validation as such, just the ability to lock out non-numeric input to numeric fields and stuff like that. Definitely no GUI widgets except what you could draw with "ASCII Art" (technically, it was EBCDIC Art).

Attaching a non-327x terminal to an IBM mainframe back then was not trivial. The 3277 terminals were practically hollow shells, with what little actual intelligence they had emanating from the 327x control unit, which is what actually talked to the mainframe itself.

Sabre is so old that for all I can recall it originally debuted on 2660 terminals. But I don't think it supported anything more powerful than a 3279 up until PCs started taking over as terminals.

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | 1 year,3 days | (#43467413)

Brian Kernighan put it eloquently:
"Everyone knows that debugging is twice as hard as writing a program in the first place. So if you're as clever as you can be when you write it, how will you ever debug it?"

I'm going to guess that was said tongue-in-cheek. First, writing and debugging are two different, although related, skills. While writing (of code or anything else) does benefit from independent review, I doubt Mr. Kernighan really thinks there is nothing to be gained when someone reviews their own work.

Second, I can debug my own code because I'm smarter when debugging than I was when writing. I have the benefit of the experience of writing the code and observing the results of running in a test or sandbox environment.

Third, I hope Mr. Kernighan isn't seriously suggest folks try to be "as clever as you can be" when writing code. Clever is nice for showing off, such as for obfuscated code contests. For the real world, where code has to be tested, documented, and maintained, clever should be avoided. Give me clean, correct code over clever.

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | 1 year,3 days | (#43468081)

The point of his statement was that software should be written in a way where it is easy to understand and maintain. It is much easier to make "hard to understand code" than it is to understand "hard to understand code".

If you are smarter when debugging, then you are already following his advice, because you are not "clever as can be" when writing it, because you are less clever writing it than when you are debugging it.

He is suggesting you *shouldn't* be "as clever as can be" when writing code, *because* it will be much harder to debug.

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | 1 year,3 days | (#43472019)

He is suggesting you *shouldn't* be "as clever as can be" when writing code, *because* it will be much harder to debug.

Oh. That I agree with 100%. I didn't really understand his point the first time I read the quote. Thank you.

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (1)

Forever Wondering (2506940) | 1 year,3 days | (#43467489)

[According to the article] there was nothing wrong with the software. It was that the network couldn't be accessed [was down]. This sounds more like a core router failure or a router that polluted the routing tables.

Airline reservations systems fall into the "mission critical" software development category. They tend to have fewer bugs because they get so much testing before deployment.

And one of the reasons AA spun off its [in-house] Sabre system was so that it could be kept modern. Another reason, IIRC, was that when it was in-house, they were being accused of antitrust, because other systems couldn't access it. At the time, the only serious competitor was United's(?) Apollo system.

In my experience [of 40 years as computer engineer], fast code actually has fewer bugs, because, it order to make it fast you find the simplest way to state the problem. This simplicity [or elegance] tends to keep the code clean, maintainable, fast--all at the same time. When you don't keep an eye on performance, your code can become convoluted (i.e. slow) since you don't care about performance, you can get sloppy. That's when bugs creep in.

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | 1 year,3 days | (#43468131)

You can write super fast code that uses goto, global variables, etc. Yes you can write very slow code that's full of bugs but that's not the point. My point is that the fastest code is going to be more prone to having bugs. The easiest to maintain code is going to be slightly suboptimal (slower than the fastest code).

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (2)

Forever Wondering (2506940) | 1 year,3 days | (#43469865)

I'm a [linux] kernel programmer. I write device drivers. I haven't used a goto in 30 years [not one!]. I've also written code to do realtime processing of broadcast quality HD video on a linux platform in conjunction with specialized hardware.

You're assuming that to make code fast, it's done [has to be done] by doing insane hacks [or the bad practices that you mentioned]. This [usually] only produces modest speedups on the order of a few percent. Most really fast code is highly modular and just uses a better algorithm (e.g. instead of linear search, use binary or RB tree, etc.).

As the simplest example I can think of:

If you use:

    int a[100];
    int idx;
    int sum;

    sum = 0;
    for (idx = 0; idx < 100; ++idx)
        sum += a[idx];

You're better off with:

    int a[100];
    int *ptr;
    int *ep;
    int sum;

    ptr = a;
    ep = ptr + 100;

    sum = 0;
    for (; ptr < ep; ++ptr)
        sum += *ptr;

When such loops become slightly more complex, the latter will optimize better and run 2x faster. That's [culled] from a real world example, where I recoded along those lines. And the resulting code was simpler. I also moved out loop-invariant expressions that the optimizer didn't catch. No "tricks" [if you will] were needed.

At the video company, we had to load firmware into an FPGA. The original loader program [written by the FPGA company] took 15 minutes. That was intolerable for our customers. But, I discovered it was using fscanf on the input file for each and every input byte (e.g. fscanf, send to device, repeat). This was grossly inefficient, but was never changed because the code was originally designed for very small FPGAs that were only sparsely filled (e.g. the slow code would take about 2-3 minutes for most of the FPGA company's customer use cases). However, we were using the largest FPGA possible and filling it to capacity.

I recoded this by preloading the entire file into a memory array, transforming it, so that it became:
    for (all_bytes_in_array)
        sendbyte();
This reduced the load time from the 15 minutes to 90 seconds [a 10x speedup]. Once again, the resulting code was far simpler than the original. Oh, and the original code was sparsely commented. I added comments to virtually every section [as part of my original investigation, before changing any code--so I could understand things well enough to change the parts that I did change]. In so doing, I found multiple redundancies that could be eliminated. This is more Occam's Razor than anything else.

I've got a friend at a company that is using Scala ("Java done right" (tm) :-). Based on the horror stories he's told me, the programmers there that have the most bugs filed against them are the ones that are the strongest proponents/users of Scala's "functional programming" features. Ironic to say the least.

On the academic front, Carnegie Mellon [arguably one of the top three schools for computer science], is changing its freshman curriculum. They will no longer introduce Java, will eschew OO and functional programming in favor of a more [traditional] imperative programming approach [with increased emphasis on performance analysis and details of algorithm implementation]. Historically, CM has usually been a trend setter, so that should give one some food for thought.

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | 1 year,2 days | (#43475507)

You are saying that often a program *can* be made faster by also making it better. I am not disputing this. The most obvious example of this is choosing an algorithm that is asymptotically efficient.

But even once you get to the point where you wouldn't change a single character, there are usually still things to can do to increase speed but at the cost of modularity, scalability, maintainability.

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (5, Informative)

zachary.grafton (1820370) | 1 year,3 days | (#43466291)

I currently work for Silver Airways, but as I've experienced first hand, almost all of the airlines software system's suck some major ballsack. None of the airlines have undergone the massive rewrite that their reservations system need and they just keep bolting on more pieces of crap code to these ancient systems. United uses SHARES, and so does Silver Airways, but 2 different versions of the same software, and to make things worse, ours is rented off of Island Air and not a single human being can fix any of the stuff they need to do. The Silver Airways version doesn't even handle baggage charges in a decent fashion, forcing their employees to build a reservation just for a bag fee. It's always great when you have a functional TELEX printer that you can't use because not even the IT department can figure out how the hell SHARES is trying to route output. Personally, all the airlines are damned for not spending any money in updating reservations systems from the late 70s and early 80s. If you anyone is interested, you can basically trace all of the airlines reservations systems back to a company called EDS, which was at one time owned by Ross Perot.

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | 1 year,3 days | (#43466903)

The real issue is that these airlines are usually publicly owned. They care about profits and rewriting all the infrastructure code is expensive and might even stop normal operation (resulting in higher costs). When shareholders do the math for what makes most financial sense, it is usually to keep sticking on more duct tape until duct tape no longer works. At some point a full rewrite makes the most financial sense, and that's when it will happen.

Even when an airline is just stupid and only wants duct tape forever. All it takes is for one airline to do the rewrite and reap the benefits of better efficiency. That airline should in theory be able to have much more efficient scheduling of resources and less downtime. This allows them to make higher profits and/or undercut their competitors. Other airlines will see the benefits and follow suit. The ones that can't update their software will be consumed by the ones that can.

On the other side of the spectrum, constantly rolling out infrastructure rewrites is pretty inefficient as well. There is some optimal lifecycle for these sorts of things (e.g. 20 years ?). Too far over or under, and you are not making as much profit as you could have been.

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | 1 year,3 days | (#43466997)

Since when does any shareholder ever decide what internal projects get worked on?

Since "the real issue is that these airlines are usually publicly owned" then the solution is to have government announce regulations that all airlines must be owned by a single person? Or maybe family owned or even some partnerships? That will solve the problem because you won't have a bunch of nameless, faceless people begging for a larger quarterly payout (dividend) but will instead have one person (or a handful of people) demanding a larger quarterly payout (profit)..

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | 1 year,3 days | (#43468009)

The shareholders are the collective owners of the company. They are the boss. They can have as much influence on what internal projects get worked on as they want. By deciding not to be involved, they are making an implicit decision to allow this to be handled by people lower in the totem pole. The owners typically decide on budgets which either allow for total rewrites or not. The engineers/engineering department can ask for more money to do a good job, and these requests are either approved or denied at a higher level.

Sometimes the shareholders don't care about anything until it becomes a problem that affects profits. Sometimes they get involved sooner if they have a larger interest in the company succeeding.

Small shareholders typically do not participate in votes or they can grant their voting power to other shareholders.

No not every single shareholder can have a say in the day to day operation. But in aggregate they are the highest entity on the totem pole. They have the power to decide to do or not to do a software rewrite if they choose not to abdicate this power. The managers, even the CEO, is just executing the will of the shareholders. They don't have the power to authorize a software rewrite without the approval of the shareholders, if it is going to be a large expense (at least not without negative consequences).

If doing a software rewrite is somehow a small expense (i.e. fits in the allowable budget), then doing it is no problem for anyone, so it will probably get done.

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (1)

BitZtream (692029) | 1 year,3 days | (#43468147)

The shareholders are the collective owners of the company.

You, with your 4 shares of stock don't get to tell anyone anything.

However, when you own enough shares that your vote matters to a large enough extent, you don't get to tell them exactly what to do ... but you sure as hell can make someones employment at the company difficult to impossible.

The reality of it is however, 99.99999% of the time, a total re-write is a retarded idea. You just get a whole new set of bugs and you've wasted all the time you put into the original system. There is nothing that actually prevents old code from being modernized and cleaned up, it just takes actual effort and attention to detail ... and that is why so many people think re-writing it is the solution, they are lazy and/or are not qualified to do the job with the required attention to detail. Instead they rewrite it, and IF it ever gets back to doing all the stuff the original did, its generally ten times more bloated and slower still as now you've just had commitees telling you how to use a new design to build something that was already optimized and well understood by its users.

Anyone suggesting re-writing large systems in their entirity is almost certainly unqualified to be making any such sort of recommendation.

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (2)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | 1 year,3 days | (#43468435)

Owning 4 shares in a company gives me about as much say as a voter in an election. No I don;t get to decide who the senator of my state is, but I do have influence over it, even if that influence is small. All the voters added up completely determines the outcome. It's not important that the smallest shareholder always affects the outcome of every decision, it only matters that this is possible. Just like I don't need to cast the deciding vote in an election for my vote to count.

It depends on your definition of a *total* rewrite. Does every single line of code need to change for it to count as a rewrite? It is very likely that the number of lines changed will be > 0 and less than 100%. If you change 95% of the code, that's pretty much a rewrite in my opinion.

Yes changing software always introduces the potential for new bugs. Lots of software is written by and used by only one company. This software even if used for a very long time is not necessarily well tested. A rewrite of a companies database code could consist of ditching a custom database and replacing it with an enterprise database which works better and has been tested more.

Is this a rewrite? Well it is in the sense that almost none of the old code is still there. It isn;t in the sense that most of the new code is actually existing and well tested code.

I do lots of "rewriting" for my job. I take chunks of old code that are 15 years old and full of bugs that have never been caught, and port them to Qt usually reducing the size of the code by a factor of 10 and leveraging the fact that Qt has platform independent classes for stuff like ByteArrays, TCP sockets, Linked Lists, DataStreams, etc. This not only allows the code to run on 64 bit targets, but also fixes a bunch of problems. There really isn't any reason to keep custom written buffer or network logic that was kludgey to begin with. If I end up changing 1% or 99% of the lines of code then so be it. I usually end up in the 90% range.

Usually you don't want the new code to do everything the old code did. You want the new code to do what the old code was supposed to do.

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (1)

Chriscypher (409959) | 1 year,3 days | (#43471139)

Owning 4 shares in a company gives me about as much say as a voter in an election. No I don;t get to decide who the senator of my state is, but I do have influence over it, even if that influence is small. All the voters added up completely determines the outcome. It's not important that the smallest shareholder always affects the outcome of every decision, it only matters that this is possible. Just like I don't need to cast the deciding vote in an election for my vote to count.

Have you ever actually voted your proxy? It does not work like a government election.

You can vote or withhold your vote for a select list of directors. They are more often than not the current board of directors. You do not get to choose between contenders for the same board seat. Since the directors on the ballot are nominated by shareholders with far more shares than you, your vote is mostly symbolic and meaningless.

Unless you are CALPERS, manage a large trust or investment fund, or are otherwise a .1%-er with a heavy stake, you cannot dictate board nominees, and therefore have no say in oversight.

Bottom line: You can vote for or against, but do not get to choose your oligarchs.

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | 1 year,2 days | (#43476391)

Let's say a company has 1 million shares. I have one share. I don't have much influence. If I collectively work with half a million other people with once share, then we have the power of someone with a 50% stake in the company.

This is very similar to government elections except that some people get more than once vote. That doesn't change the fact that someone with 1 vote has only a small amount of influence.

No I have never owned stock. I spend all my money on my mortgage. I don't doubt that most investors with small shares bother proxy voting. Maybe they feel it is not worth their time to do the research to make an informed decision that would affect them. That doesn't mean that they can't participate if they wanted to. Lots of people don't bother voting in political elections either for the same reason.

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (1)

zachary.grafton (1820370) | 1 year,3 days | (#43472851)

I'm not suggesting a rewrite of the code based on it's maintainability or the amount of effort required to fix bugs. I suggest a rewrite because a lot of the concepts used in these systems are antiquated in and of themselves. Not to mention training people on systems like this is a huge undertaking because of the way the environment has been modeled, and a lot of times, trying to change the concepts behind a large bulk of code just doesn't work out to be as cheap as a whole rewrite. These systems aren't well understood by its users and that is a problem. You can't pick people up off the streets and pay them the typical airline pay and expect that type of person to learn and use these systems effectively. Having said that, I actually enjoy using a lot of these systems (most of my coworkers find them scary and painful to use), but I would definitely like a lot more consistency across the various programs that the airlines expect their employees to use. I don't know if a whole rewrite is required, but from an end user's perspective, some really big changes need to be made.

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (2)

Sponge Bath (413667) | 1 year,3 days | (#43467023)

The may have tried it on Windows 8 for the first time and could not find the Start button.

Re: Are they on some older software that can't han (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#43467605)

Hey Sabre employee here. Yes that is what happened. We put a ticket on stackoverflow but no working solution yet.

Re:Are they on some older software that can't hand (1)

jelizondo (183861) | 1 year,3 days | (#43469695)

What is missing from the timeline is the time they blew up a huge project. I remember reading about it in the early 90's but can't locate the source, so I give you Wikipedia: [wikipedia.org] basically they blew 125 million and 3.5 years of development work and AMR (American Airlines parent company) was sued by Marriot, Hilton and Budget (partners in the system) for the failure.

Then back in 2009, AMR hired HP to develop a new system [forrester.com] for them, which was seen as very risky.

Now, it seems that they have thrown in the towel [dallasnews.com], what is it with AMR that it can't get a fucking system going after 20-something years?

Someone set us up the bomb! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#43465919)

Oh noez! I blame terrorists for their dastardly cyber-criminal activities. This means cyber-war!

Move the planes from the gates (4, Informative)

magarity (164372) | 1 year,3 days | (#43466035)

"At American's hub in Miami, The Miami Herald reports that landing AA flights have run out of available gates since none of the airline's departures are taking off. A passenger on one of those flights -- 66-year-old Richard Bell -- tells the Herald he had been stuck on an AA flight arriving from Baltimore. He told the newspaper that the aircraft's engines were running and that the air conditioning was working. But he also said the flight's pilots come over the public address system to warn fliers that some other systems were not functioning. "He mentioned the toilet specifically as a problem,'' Bell tells the Herald."

This is total lack of human compassion that someone can't get in one of those tractors, push the plane at the gate out of the way to a spot off to the side and let the plane with the people unload. What kind of heartless ass is running American's operations at that airport? Oh, gee, that might inconvenience the airline personel because the first plane would then have to be trundled back over since it needs to leave first when things resume.

Re:Move the planes from the gates (2)

Farmer Pete (1350093) | 1 year,3 days | (#43466125)

I agree, but I think the solution could be a lot easier. Most airports have stairs they can drive to the airplane door. Sure, that wouldn't help a disabled person, but there is no reason 200 people have to sit in a plane for hours when only 1 or 2 people can't walk down a flight of stairs.

Re:Move the planes from the gates (1)

mjwx (966435) | 1 year,3 days | (#43469511)

I agree, but I think the solution could be a lot easier. Most airports have stairs they can drive to the airplane door. Sure, that wouldn't help a disabled person, but there is no reason 200 people have to sit in a plane for hours when only 1 or 2 people can't walk down a flight of stairs.

In addition to the stairs, they also have elevators on trucks (this is how they get large items in and out of the cabin).

Re:Move the planes from the gates (1)

nblender (741424) | 1 year,3 days | (#43466275)

I thought there was some sort of protocol that says "when a passenger gets off the plain, their luggage must also get off the plane"? If so, that would mean they'd have to completely undo the flight and then redo it when it was ready to go...

Not sure about this.

Re:Move the planes from the gates (1)

mrbester (200927) | 1 year,3 days | (#43466483)

If the passenger is still airside there is no reason to remove baggage, especially if it is an organised deplane to a holding area (because you aren't getting landside again until cleared) with an expectation of the flight taking place. Should it then be cancelled the usual routine of removing baggage would take place, just like with any arrival.

Re:Move the planes from the gates (2)

magarity (164372) | 1 year,3 days | (#43466627)

The stoppage in question was a "ground halt" meaning that once the planes get where they're normally going, they don't leave again. So the passengers are where they're supposed to be; OK, why not take their luggage off? Then shove the plane out of the way and get the next one into place that's otherwise idling full of people wasting their lives waiting. Maybe a handful of people are continuing on to that same plane's next destination but that's a really low percentage of the passengers.

Re:Move the planes from the gates (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#43469507)

That was after 9/11 and known as positive bag match. Shortly after TSA took over baggage screening, airlines have no longer been required to remove baggage when that passenger doesn't fly.

Re:Move the planes from the gates (3, Informative)

couchslug (175151) | 1 year,3 days | (#43468393)

It's fucking laziness.

I've towed MANY aircraft and it isn't at all difficult to do.

Basically, back towbar up to nose gear, unpin steering links (your towbar does the "steering" when towing), connect towbar (aircrew remain in cockpit to apply aircraft brakes if towbar accidentally disconnects under tow), remove wheel chocks, tow aircraft to new spot, chock wheels, disconnect towbar, reconnect steering links, drive tug to next job.

It "ain't shit" be the aircraft large or small.

Re:Move the planes from the gates (1)

mjwx (966435) | 1 year,3 days | (#43469499)

This is total lack of human compassion that someone can't get in one of those tractors, push the plane at the gate out of the way to a spot off to the side and let the plane with the people unload. What kind of heartless ass is running American's operations at that airport? Oh, gee, that might inconvenience the airline personel because the first plane would then have to be trundled back over since it needs to leave first when things resume.

Not quite that simple as you'll need an excavator to move all the support infrastructure (fuel, sewerage inlets and so forth).

What the airport should have is an over-flow area on the tarmac where passengers can be unloaded via those portable stairs you may have seen about and bused to the terminal. I've seen this setup in almost all SE Asian airports except for NAIA in Manila (and I'm not sure if that is because NAIA was designed by Americans or run by Filipinos).

This of course wont help with flights departing late.

Um...any TECHNICAL explanation? (4, Insightful)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | 1 year,3 days | (#43466059)

Kudos, SlashDot, for getting the story here on the same day as the rest of the media. Now how about some links that AREN'T ConsumerNews or USAToday or other crap. Does anyone know what the TECHNICAL reason for the failure is?

Re:Um...any TECHNICAL explanation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#43466131)

Does anyone know what the TECHNICAL reason for the failure is?

Nope so I'll make something up... It was a track "hoe" or one of many copper thieves who lack requisite number of brain cells to know the difference between fibre and copper.

Re:Um...any TECHNICAL explanation? (2)

JustOK (667959) | 1 year,3 days | (#43466287)

Technically, there was something that went wrong, probably something to do with a technical problem with some of the technology. Technically, that's just a theory, 'tho.

Re:Um...any TECHNICAL explanation? (2)

zachary.grafton (1820370) | 1 year,3 days | (#43466307)

I'd imagine it's because no one wrote any documentation when the software was created, and none of the airlines have anyone dedicated to tracking what documentation was written. So, everyone is standing around looking at a terminal trying to figure out what's going on with no idea where to even begin.

Re: Um...any TECHNICAL explanation? (1)

hemp (36945) | 1 year,3 days | (#43468117)

Actually, it is a very well documented system with strict change control and change management.

Re:Um...any TECHNICAL explanation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#43466345)

I can be a media outlet for you with mainstream caliber reporting:

An official that wishes to remain anonymous stated that the likely cause for the failure is presumably a paperclip that has made a key stuck on a keyboard. Some industry experts, however, considered such a cause impossible although remained open to the possibility that there was coffee on a keyboard involved.

Good enough for you?

Re:Um...any TECHNICAL explanation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#43466523)

Kudos, SlashDot, for getting the story here on the same day as the rest of the media. Now how about some links that AREN'T ConsumerNews or USAToday or other crap. Does anyone know what the TECHNICAL reason for the failure is?

Your mom sat on the server. It quickly gave out and was rendered flat as a pancake.

Seriously, how would anyone here know something the media doesn't? /. has an inside track on the inner workings of AA's IT systems? stfu and get over yourself.

Re:Um...any TECHNICAL explanation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#43468077)

My guess is some sort of communications cable failure. I forget which airline, but one of them had both redundant fiber optic cables cut in the same day.

Re:Um...any TECHNICAL explanation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#43469161)

Second hand information from someone in the office trying to book a flight today: Apparently if you tried to select your seat prior to buying your ticket, the system would delete your reservation after your paid for your ticket. He thought he had three or four duplicate charges he was going to have to get reversed. Dunno if that is really what the failure scenario was or if that was just a side effect of the disconnect between the web front end and the very old and decrepit back end.

Disingenuous headline (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#43466267)

Please don't use headlines to get ad impressions.

You know very well what people's first reaction will be to that headline, coming a day after the marathon attacks.

How about this: "American Airlines IT Problem Grounds Flights". Still shorter than the average Slashdot headline.

Cover story? (0)

Frank T. Lofaro Jr. (142215) | 1 year,3 days | (#43466387)

Perhaps they had intelligence on a threat to an American Airlines flight and didn't want to alarm people...

al Qaeda usually does more than one attack at a time we've seen.

Re:Cover story? (4, Funny)

matrim99 (123693) | 1 year,3 days | (#43466805)

I think that a passenger saw a monster on the wing, like what happened in "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet".

Hey, if we're going to be making up random shit, it might as well be something cool.

Re:Cover story? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#43468291)

There's some men in white coats here to see you...they came in their own vehicle...

More Important (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#43466623)

Bad day to be an AA customer.

Patched without testing (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#43466945)

How much you want to bet?

Security Theater (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#43467009)

AA sells front row seat today and tomorrow and the next.

I Think They Were Cracked... (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | 1 year,3 days | (#43468699)

I've been getting daily confirmations of tickets to places. It's not impacting my credit card. A bank spokeswoman called and said someone had gotten our PIN number and was making the bogus reservations. Funny thing, I and my wife never use our debit card for purchases. Given AA's track record for lost luggage, broken items in luggage, with liberal DHS stickers on the breakage, the crap service at LAX. Maybe someone got feed up, and then smiled?

They actually corrected themselves... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#43470159)

The issue was not the reservation system, it was American Airline network having issues accessing Sabre, they corrected their tweets

If you don't pay . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#43470787)

This has "failure to pay your Sabre bill" all over it !!

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