Would You Play Russian Roulette with a UUID?

I used to be explaining UUIDs to a junior colleague right now, who was hung up on the thought of chances, and it result in an attention-grabbing viewpoint.A UUID is a Common Distinctive IDentifier.  They’re used everywhere in IT: as database identifiers, distinctive file names, and many others.  Right here’s one:67fbd46e-7609-477f-b5c3-edf98bbbb511I generated that on Linux by typinguuid -v4Of course, there are lots of libraries for all the most important programming languages as nicely.There are various kinds of UUIDs, and a few rely on the issuer (i.e., you) setting a namespace, which then places you answerable for making certain that all the things in your namespace is exclusive.  Right here I’m speaking about v4, which makes use of for purely random era.After I issued the above command, my pc didn’t go discuss to some international registry that retains a listing of all of the UUIDs issued.  As a substitute, the uuid utility went by means of a collection of random quantity generations to supply the above.  So if my pc generates 67fbd46e-7609-477f-b5c3-edf98bbbb511, what’s to stop your pc from producing the identical quantity and having a collision?Nothing.  Besides math.  Often.  After which there’s that revolver gamble.The percentages of two randomly-generating UUIDs colliding (having the identical worth) is 5.3×1036.  For comparability, there are about 6×1023 silicon atoms within the universe, so you would give each silicon atom its personal UUID and nonetheless have loads leftover (the exact calculation is left as an train for the reader).Nonetheless, chances are you’ll recall after I mentioned my pc wasn’t testing some assured distinctive quantity from a registry, however producing it randomly itself?  Do you see an issue there?My Linux field is utilizing no matter normal library the uuid utility makes use of, and I’m certain it’s engineered to be the absolute best.  However what for those who’ve obtained a laptop computer operating CrapOS and CrapOS has a horrible random quantity generator?  As RFC 4122 places it:Distributed purposes producing UUIDs at a wide range of hosts should
be keen to depend on the random quantity supply in any respect hosts.In observe, that is extra of a theoretical somewhat than an precise threat, as a result of everybody makes use of normal libraries and nobody has a motive to do one thing silly.However again to my colleague.  Her concern was that there might nonetheless be a collision sometime.  My opinion was that at a sure degree of odds, you simply assume it’s not going to occur.  Nonetheless, my affiliate famous that there’s at all times an implicit threat/reward calculation.If there’s a UUID collision in some unspecified time in the future, what actually is the harm?  A database error or some web app can’t course of a POST.  Because the collision might be not going to be a significant issue, the danger is appropriate.However what if somebody made you the proposition which you can play a recreation of Russian roulette and for those who survive, you’ll obtain $1 billion.  Would you play?  Most individuals would say no, as a result of despite the fact that you’ve an 83% probability of profitable, the danger is your life.What if it was a 20-chamber gun?  Even with a 95% probability of an exquisite end result, you wouldn’t play.  One million-chamber recreation?  No.However one in a UUID?  In all probability not.  However didn’t I simply say we “assume it’s not going to occur”?  It’s not going to occur.  You’re completely protected.  However there’s an opportunity…How about you?  Would you pull the set off in Russian roulette if the there have been 5.3×1036 chambers and payoff was $1 billion?  Tell us within the feedback beneath. Dread Lord of LowEnd Content material at LowEndBoxI’m Andrew, techno polymath and long-time LowEndTalk group Administrator. My technical pursuits embody all issues Unix, perl, python, golang, shell scripting, classic working programs similar to MVS, and relational database programs similar to Oracle, PostgreSQL, and MySQL.I additionally take pleasure in utilizing LEBs! I’ve an empire of little guys for VPNs, bigger guys for apps, and massive guys for databases and storage. After I’m not in entrance a display I am into German Shepherd canine, high quality knives, goal capturing, theology, tabletop roleplaying video games, and forest mountaineering.I take pleasure in writing technical articles right here on LowEndBox to assist individuals get extra out of their programs. You could find me on LowEndTalk @raindog308Latest posts by raindog308 (see all)

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