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Unstable service
Posted by soczol at 2007-03-02 13:17:26

As you might have noticed, our service has been quite unstable in the past few months. This is mainly due to crashes in our 'natasha' service.

Some of you might have heard the name before but wonder what 'natasha' actually is. Natasha is the name of the service that runs all the bots. All our bots run from one natasha program/process at our botserver.

The advantage of having everything in one program is that all bots can 'help around', as you probably have noticed you can message any of our bots to do things on your channel, and random bots will reply to your commands, also you can easily move bots around, etc. The disadvantage of this however is, that if there is just one tiny thingie that breaks, our whole service crashes, this means all bots are down. It takes quite some time before the 200+ bots are all online again.

Hours and hours have been spent trying to locate and fix the bugs that crashed natasha but apparently without any success, as at the moment of writing the service crashed again.

It was clear that we wouldn't be able to find the bugs ourselves in the huge natasha code. So we started looking for programs to help us find out what's going wrong. None however seemed to do what we wanted, we were about to give up until we found Parasoft Insure++.

Insure++ claims to be the number one tool for finding coding errors related to memory allocations. We have seen Insure++ in action and were impressed by its capabilities and we knew this was the tool we needed. However, as you might expect with such a package it costs quite some money (thousands of US dollars).

As you all know NordicBots is a completely volunteer-driven project. We really couldn't afford to put more money in a project/hobby that is already costing us too much money (servers, bandwidth, etc.) so we started mailing Parasoft, asking if they could help us out.

A few days later I received a mail from a Parasoft representative from The Netherlands and he was willing to supply us with a temporary license for FREE. Of course we are really happy with this and we would really like to thank Parasoft for helping us out.

We are confident that Insure++ can assist us in finding the bugs, hopefully resulting in a more stable service for all of you guys and girls.

If you are interested in such a solution, do not forget to visit Parasoft at

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#12007-03-02 15:20 | anton (NordicBots Staff)
It'd be great if Natasha could run for months without crashing and I know how the basic sourcecode looks like, it's a mess.

Let's hope Insure++ could fix the most fatal errors. :)

#22007-03-16 02:01 | h3ll (NordicBots Staff)
Pro ;o

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