Subject: Re: Death of the Systems Administrator?
To: None <>
From: Greywolf <>
List: netbsd-advocacy
Date: 01/09/2001 00:42:25
Warning:  Longish, tangential rant on the virtues of systems administration
follows; followups redirected to me.  If you're not interested, delete
this message now.  Apologies in advance for the waste of bandwidth.

On Tue, 9 Jan 2001 wrote:

# > No systems administration?  Eliminated completely?
# > 
# > realise you've just taken away many people's bread and butter
# > if you do that, don't you?
# Well, that's a matter of philosophy.  My bread and butter is in systems
# administration.  Here are some ideas:

Mine, too, in a very heavily vested way.

# 1) The computers are not there so that system administrators can have jobs.
# The computers and the system administrators are there so that work can get
# done.

Be that as it may, I'm in it for the sheer joy of playing with really
cool toys while getting paid good money to do so.  Yeah, it's mercenary,
but I'm sure going to capitalise on my knowledge while I can.

The computers are there to help the people work.  My goal is to have
them running as seamlessly as possible to make sure I have time to
further my rather informal education while on the job.  It's job-related,
of course.

# 2) Any task that may be automated probably should be automated.  In a way it
# is demeaning to make a person do what a tool could do better.  As a whole,
# it is also less profitable.

...for whom is it less profitable?

I, for one, am not going to get automated out of a job.  THAT is demeaning.

The stuff I end up doing is not all automatable, either.  Much of it is
pretty custom and varies wildly.  The best you could do is apply heuristics,
and even a datafile to fill the holes wouldn't catch everything.

Now the menial stuff, sure.  Drop a programmer/sysadmin into tedium, and
the first thing they're going to try to do is to program their way out,
without a question.

But as long as I can be beneficial to the industry at large while
maintaining the ability to write my own passage, more or less,
I intend to do so.  The industry is a machine, and it exacts its toll
on those of us who provide valuable services.  The trick is the more
we are perceived to be worth, the more we can dictate the extent to which
we will let the machine rend us asunder, or not.  Wizardry is not dead,
at least not yet, and the kings still need us.

This is WAY off topic at this point, and I didn't mean to get so involved
in my rant, so I'm setting the reply-to directly to me.

# Ben

*BSD: The cure for the common OS.