But isn't breaking things what the QA people DO?

It's the 1990s, and this small startup needs to get online on a tiny budget -- which means a pilot fish there has to cobble together a Linux server from leftover parts.

"Things were working swimmingly for the first few weeks," says fish. "The server ran our corporate email and served up a simple web site.

"But suddenly it developed a bad case of the 'bouncies.' Someone would complain that the server was down, I'd verify and reboot. This happened multiple times in the same morning, and each time I left my desk and walked through the QA department to the corner of the open office where we stashed the 'server farm,' where potential investors could marvel at the blinky lights.

"On my way back to my desk after the fourth such trip, I noticed the QA manager watching a video of himself hitting a jump on his snowboard. I stopped to watch over his shoulder as he opened an email, attached the video and pressed send.

"While I was still at his desk, I heard 'It's down again!' Clue, right? Turns out the size of the email attachment was 25MB -- more than six times the RAM in the email server.

"There was no default limit on the size of email attachments in the instance of Sendmail that shipped with our Linux. But once I set it to a 1MB limit, the server stopped bouncing.

"I don't think our QA manager ever saw the irony of the QA department breaking the production email server."

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