Weaponized Tinderbox!

Back at Netscape, one of our early internal tools was Tinderbox, which ran continuous builds on multiple platforms and cross-referenced build failures with check-in logs to pinpoint who's fault it was. (It was called "Tinderbox" because when it turns red, "the tree is on fire".)

This was inspired by an earlier hack used at SGI that was hooked up to the building's PA. When the build broke, a text-to-speech system would announce it to the world. "The build. Is broken. Terry. Broke the build."

Public shaming works even better than you might expect!

Who broke the build?

Retaliation is a Jenkins CI build monitor that automatically coordinates a foam missile counter-attack against the developer who breaks the build. It does this by playing a pre-programmed control sequence to a USB Foam Missile Launcher to target the offending code monkey. Check out the video to see Tom take one in the back of the head all because of a missing semicolon!

<vader>This build system is now fully operational.</vader>

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11 Responses:

  1. Chris Yeh says:

    One of the few things that Netscape got right, IMO, was Tinderbox and the concept of CI. I'm now using Jenkins and while it's far from perfect, it's good enough and out-of-the box.

    I so totally want this Jenkins plugin.

  2. Erbo says:

    I have just sent an E-mail message to my fellow developers: "We MUST integrate this technology into our CruiseControl system. It is a moral imperative."

  3. Terry Weissman says:

    I didn't break the build! It's not my fault! The voices in my head told me to do it!

  4. DFB says:

    ThinkGeek should sell these things with a fraction of proceeds donated to launchpad.net.

  5. Jon Konrath says:

    This only works until sloppy programmers develop anti-build system missile systems.

  6. Noah says:

    This worked at netscape until guha figured out how to break the builds without even checking anything in.

  7. Ted Mielczarek says:

    Sadly, tinderbox still exists. We have almost replaced it, but not quite. It's currently awful because it can't cope with the modern volume of build mail, so it winds up with multiple-hour backlogs, and nobody wants to touch the code.

    • Rob Helmer says:

      Maybe not nobody! Bug 681680

      Also, we could plug retaliation right into jenkins.mozilla.org but most mozilla devs don't share the same office anymore...

      The only reasonable solution is to do it from orbit.