Our team has had some lingering problems with our installations not working. We have a total of four applications which each have their own install program. Two of them work all the time for me. The other two were recently just not working on my workstation. I would run the install executable. It would do nothing. There would be no error messages. The only thing I saw were some partial temporary files left behind.
This got escalated when our test team could not install all of our applications. The problem was especially troublesome because the installs worked sometimes. It was an intermittent problem. One developer thought it would work for them if they tried to run the install program twice. However that did nothing for me. And it seemed that it did not always work for that developer either.
I took a look at the Ant script that builds the install executable. However I did not see anything unique about the scripts for the problematic install programs. Another developer concluded that this must have something to do with the VPN software we use to connect from remote locations. I noted that I would encounter the problem both on my laptop, and also on my virtual machine. This was a double whammy.
The problem became ultra high priority when the customer confirmed they also could not install the problem. I tried to do a little more research. However I had my own normal work to attend to. One of our install script developers had left the project. So the onus fell on the other install script developer to figure out what was going on.
Finally the install guy came back with the cause. Apparently the install program was trying unsuccessfully to overwrite a system DLL that was sometimes in use by another program. This was shameful. Why are we trying to put this in the system directory? We have our own directory on the local hard drive. Furthermore, analysis showed that this DLL was not even required by our application.
At least we had somebody figure out this troubling problem. We are not out of the water just yet. There are some other strange install behaviors that people are starting to complain about. Our install guy better get busy again.
A Little Bit of Crypto - I have been trying to figure out to "collision resistant" some of these standard hash functions are. It is a tough concept to get my head around. I figure...