349: Success

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40% of OpenBSD installs lead to shark attacks.  It's their only standing security issue.
Title text: 40% of OpenBSD installs lead to shark attacks. It's their only standing security issue.


This comic is a comment on the difficulty of installing OpenBSD, which is taken to ridiculously (and amusingly) extreme levels, where Cueball and Megan somehow literally end up in deep water over the installation. OpenBSD is an open source Unix operating system which, like some other Unix variants, is often regarded as difficult to install and configure correctly, especially on home desktops with less common hardware profiles, and especially compared with the more popular Windows operating system.

It segues into this joke using the framework of a project that's fallen victim to poor preparedness, time management, and care. Managers of such projects have a tendency to cut corners and eliminate requirements formerly thought to be essential, just to ship the project and be able to report it as a success.

The title text is a reference to OpenBSD's premium on security. For a time, their slogan was ""Five years without a remote [security] hole in the default install!"; this was eventually changed to "Only two remote holes in the default install, in a heck of a long time!".


As a project wears on, standards for success slip lower and lower.

0 hours

[Woman looking at man working on the computer.]
Man: Okay, I should be able to dual-boot BSD soon.

6 hours

[Man on the floor fiddling with the open tower in front of him.]
Man: I'll be happy if I can get the system working like it was when I started.

10 hours

[Man standing in front of the computer which now has a laptop plugged into the tower.]
Man: Well the desktop's a lost cause, but I think I can fix the problems the laptop's developed.

24 hours

[Man and woman swimming in the sea, island and beach seen in the distance.]
Man: If we're lucky, the sharks will stay away until we reach shallow water.
Woman: If we make it back alive, you're never upgrading anything again.

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There is nothing in the comic about project management. The only point is that we start out assuming total success, then just hope we don't actually end up in a worse position, then that there is at least one working computer on the premises, and finally just by hoping to survive. The is purely a comment, taken to extremes, on the most likely result of an interaction with man and machine. As the 'incomplete' tag indicates, the BSD upgrade is just used as an example. The comic is not attempting to advocate for better project planning, no matter what anybody may think. 18:45, 14 January 2014 (UTC)

What's incomplete about this explanation? It seems pretty thorough to me.

I find it funny that Megan says: "If we make it back alive, you're never upgrading anything again", implying that he would be allowed to if he dies, somehow. 16:16, 7 March 2015 (UTC)

It does not imply he would be allowed to if he dies. This is just how that phrase is commonly worded. The trope generally follows the form: "If we make it out of here alive, ________ never/ever again." -- Flewk (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
I think that's an example of denying the antecedent. 17:43, 8 November 2017 (UTC)

Just wanted to point out that it doesn't say OpenBSD in the comic (which is implied in the explanation), just BSD, and if it did reference OpenBSD then another part of the explanation would be wrong (comic #518 mentions FreeBSD). 14:00, 8 March 2015 (UTC)

Read the title text. 22:31, 29 July 2015 (UTC)

What are the odds of sharks actually attacking them? 17:43, 8 November 2017 (UTC)

we do not have enough data to form even a cogent guess. Most importantly, where are they?
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