[gclist] Finalization and death notices

Joshua W. Burton jburton@Rational.Com
Mon, 08 Oct 2001 12:13:38 -0500

"Kerns, Bob" wrote:

> I like true death noticies, instead of these "near death notices", because
> they focus on the real requirements.

In the real world, where mutators should be assumed to be buggy, there is
a valid role for both.  Only the collector can sign death notices and
alert the next of kin.  But, as Nick Barnes observes, the collector also
has unique medical knowledge about patients on life support.  *At the
discretion of the mutator*, a living will can be signed, designating the
correct queue on which to put the pointer of an object when it enters
a persistent vegetative state.  The mutator is free to bring in faith
healers, or to steal its watch and wedding ring and then pull the plug,
or simply to go on paying the bills.  In the absence of a living will,
the collector signs the certificate (zeros the pointer) and files the obit.

Mutators who affirmatively sign living wills have a special responsibility
which it may be unwise to impose on less diligent family members.  Only
if you _must_ have access to the object at finalization time should you
take the risk of extended, expensive retention that a living will implies.

Joshua W. Burton