If your storage engine returns an error from rnd_init (or doStartTableScan as it’s named in Drizzle) and does not save this error and return it in any subsequent calls to rnd_next, your engine is buggy. Namely it is buggy in that a) an error may not be reported back to the user and b) everything may explode horribly when rnd_next is called after rnd_init returned an error.
Monty (Widenius, not Taylor) wrote a patch for MariaDB based on my bug report that addressed that problem. It uses the compiler feature to throw a warning if the result of a function isn’t checked to make sure that all places that call rnd_init are checking for an error from the engine.
Today I (finally) pulled that into Drizzle as well.
Which is buggy, the server or the engine?
The MySQL bug number is 54166, filed in June 2010.