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1.4 Observe the Program in Its Natural Habitat

 
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1.4 Observe the Program in Its Natural Habitat

You need to know as soon as possible that the program actually works. Don't assume that it works just because you're told so! Perhaps you're not in the group that's responsible for the current operation of this program and you're supposed to get it to do something else. Go to the original owners and watch them run the program. Then check that the program they ran is identical to the one you were given.[3] Then figure out how you can run the program yourself without making any modifications. This might not be as easy as it sounds; the program might depend on things like files you're not permitted access to or accounts you don't have. There might not be a test environment that you can try the program out on (more on this in Chapter 3). However, it is vital that you can reproduce the successful operation of the program you have just witnessed with as few modifications as possible.

[3] This may seem needlessly pedantic, but not if you consider the mind-puddling difficulty of diagnosis that would ensue if the two actually were different.

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